In the last 3 posts, we’ve pondered the speaker (author), the audience, and how to craft your message (or text). If you’ve read those, congratulations! You’ve just completed a crash course in Rhetorical Criticism. These 3 components are the essence of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle. “Sounds intriguing, but what kind of triangle is that?” Well, it’s a triangle we all use every day.
Let’s substitute “persuasive” for the word “rhetorical” – as in, “Aristotle’s Persuasive Triangle.” This ancient triangle dates back to the 4th century BC when Aristotle pondered the question, “How do people persuade their audiences?” His pondering led to a definition a diagram. He defined rhetoric: “The ability to see what is persuasive in every given situation.” Next, he diagrammed the idea, using a popular concept of his day, geometry. He used a triangle to communicate the three main components of persuasion – Speaker|Audience|Message – and The Rhetorical Triangle was born.
Whenever we try to persuade someone, we’re using this triangle. Most of us use it every day, all the time. Whether it’s giving an elevator pitch, interviewing for a job, designing a pitch deck, or making a sales call, the rhetorical triangle is at work. How’s that? Because in each of those situations, we’re trying to persuade.
Sometimes we use the triangle well (standing ovation!), and sometimes we don’t (people checking phones, just a new way to throw tomatoes).
Having studied this triangle in depth for many years, I find it fascinating. It is fundamental to the work we do with every client, and it’s the reason On Point’s logo is…a triangle. The Rhetorical Triangle is always top of mind at On Point; it informs every plan we tailor as we help our clients improve.
And it’s exciting work; the triangle is the same, yet different with every situation. The words of that triangle will always say “Speaker|Audience|Message.” But it’s how we think about those components that changes with each occasion, each speech, each message.
Delivering a truly excellent message and staying “on point” requires in-depth analysis of the Persuasive Triangle. Contact us today, we’re here to help.
Cindy Skalicky is passionate about developing effective messages. A public speaking coach and branding consultant, she is the owner of On Point Communications, LLC. Learn more at www.onpoint-communications.com or contact Cindy at: email@example.com