Using Language to Persuade • Being able to present a sustained and reasoned point of view on an issue is an important life-skill as it develops your thinking and communication skills. People are more likely to listen and respect you and your opinions if it’s obvious that you have put careful thought into them and can back them up…
Presenting Your Point of View • As you study an issue, you will discover that there are many viewpoints on it • You will find yourself agreeing with some viewpoints more than others; this will help you ‘locate’ your own position within the network of arguments and opinions on the issue
Developing a Point of View • You should use your initial responses to an issue as the starting point for developing your own • Who do you agree with? Why? • You need strong reasons to support your view – personal feelings or opinions are not sufficient evidence!
Cont/… • Think of who you disagree with and why • Can you see flaws in their arguments? • These ideas can give you ways of dealing with counter-arguments to your own position • Try to look at all viewpoints on the issue in a fair way and make an effort to understand their stance. • It’s important to consider the diversity of opinions, regardless of whether they match your own or not, as it allows you to show the underlying complexities of an issue and present a more balanced, informed view
A sustained and reasoned point of view… • The SAC asks you to present the above in an oral presentation. • This means that you cannot simply state your own opinion or dismiss opposing viewpoints in a series of attacks…
A sustained point of view is one that: • Gives detailed examples and reasons showing WHY that viewpoint is correct • Presents a strong central argument, and also considers opposing viewpoints or counter arguments • Is at least 4-5 minutes in length as a speech–this allows a good introduction to the issue, a development of arguments, considered rebuttal and a conclusion that is convincing and engaging for the audience
A reasoned point of view uses: • A balanced and moderate tone-that is not overly emotional • Reason and logic in order to explain why something is true or false • Some discussion of underlying causes or logical consequences • An argument that is explored and developed throughout
Six key questions: • What’s my contention? • Who is my audience? • What’s the form? • What tone will I use? • Have I considered the counter-arguments? • What persona am I adopting?
What’s my contention? • Where do I stand on the issue and why? • The main contention should be phrased as a statement – this is the foundation of your argument • You are far more likely to persuade your audience is you are clear on what you think and are confident in your knowledge of the issue • Remember to select evidence in the form of quotes and statistics to support your ideas!
Who is my audience? • Who am I addressing my arguments to? • Consider the following audiences: • A group of year 7 students • New migrants from a war-torn country • Residents in a retirement village • Each of these audiences would respond differently to a point of view on an issue and would be persuaded by different language and modes of delivery
What’s the form? • In your SAC you will present a speech. There are certain conventions for this mode of delivery that need to be considered • A speech IS NOT an essay that is read aloud!
Crucial elements of a speech… • It is vital that you address your audience throughout your speech. • A clear contention needs to be stated at the START of your speech, otherwise you can confuse your audience and risk it becoming an informative piece, rather than a persuasive one!
What will you need to include in your speech? • An opening designed to engage your audience – a challenging question, a lively remark or emotive anecdote can work well here to highlight a personal connection to the issue or to emphasise its relevance to your audience
Cont/… • Strategies to demonstrate an ongoing awareness of your audience • Address them directly; ask for a show of hands in response to a question, appeal for their support and understanding during your speech • Can you think of some other ways to engage your audience?
Cont/… • Signposting – you must signal your structure to your audience • Simple, clear sentences that flag the line of reasoning as you speak - these help the audience to follow the thread of the argument
Cont/… • Use a mix of persuasive strategies such as repetition, rhetorical questions, inclusive language and humour (if appropriate) • Be wary of overdoing these but ensure that you include a few peppered throughout your speech – the assessor will be looking for them!
Cont/… • A tone that is appropriate to the topic e.g. jokes are inappropriate if you are talking about casualties in a current war • A powerful conclusion or punch line that leaves your audience challenged by your speech. Ideally, it should resonate with them, long after you have finished speaking!
What tone will I use? • What personal feelings will you display about the issue? • What mood are you setting for your audience to demonstrate your attitude to the issue? • Angry, sarcastic, ironic, passionate, frustrated, reflective, calm? • Avoid becoming defamatory or abusive – it alienates your audience!
Have I considered counter-arguments? • There is never just one view on an issue – there are always several perspectives • The stakeholders’ interests as well as the moral, political and social philosophies of many groups and individuals are involved • Try to consider where they are ‘coming from’ and be fair and reasonable in your treatment of them so you do not appear fanatical or arrogant!
Where should counter-arguments go? • You may like to deal with them early on in your speech so that the audience are left with your point of view in their minds at the end of your speech • Alternatively, you can address them towards the end of your speech after establishing your own position and argument strongly
Adopting a persona • It’s a good idea to deliver your speech from a perspective. • By adopting an imaginary persona, you can express a certain point of view in a more convincing and engaging way • Be wary of adopting one with a very narrow perspective as this will limit your speech and possibly alienate your audience
Reference: • Taken from Insight English for Year 12, Robert Beardwood, 2007 • Chapters 8 & 14 • KFS 08