The power of words cannot be understated. Language is a complex thing, oftentimes the vessel for progress and learning in this ever-changing, modern world. Understanding how to use the idea of rhetorical language can greatly impact your influence and impression on the world.
Whether you're using the three rhetorical appeals, rhetorical devices or just increasing your awareness of the philosophical idea of rhetoric, then you are on the right track to heightening your executive presence and influence over your business, team or company.
Building credibility through effective rhetoric
A main goal of yours, when addressing colleagues or anyone outside the company, should be to show them how reliable you are. Being a person that everyone trusts and believes in is essential to being a good leader. You may want to consider using a mixture of statistics and facts to help boost this impression (this combines Aristotle's steps, ethos and logos).
Establishing a strong personal brand
You should have a clear idea of the vision of your business, where it is now and how you will get there. This includes but is not exclusive to your brand's tone, style and purpose. This not only emphasizes your credibility, but also helps those around you to understand the end goal, so the team is working as one and outsiders have a clear idea of your future aspirations.
Influencing stakeholders and decision-makers
A strong grasp on the power of rhetoric is also extremely important when dealing with stakeholders or people of similar notoriety to your business. Paired with other useful tactics like thought leadership and mirroring, the rhetorical principles can help your persuasion techniques, ultimately resulting in securing deals.
Inspiring and motivating teams
The language you use when addressing the team is essential in how they then consequently take action. An upbeat, lively tone, oozing with positivity is much more likely to have an effect than a downtrodden, dreary speech—the words you pick should be thought over carefully.
Words such as "you" can be a useful tool in inspiring and motivating your team into taking action. Although you may be writing an email that goes out to several recipients, or addressing a boardroom full of people, simply addressing the audience by saying "you" immediately creates a feeling of personal responsibility to the audience.
Practical strategies for developing rhetorical skills
Rhetorical skills cover several admirable features that are all extremely useful in leadership roles. Expecting to master them all in a short period is unrealistic, instead it will take practice and time. Making yourself aware of the different ways to strengthen your rhetoric is a step in the right direction.
Developing public speaking skills
This is a skill that may come more naturally to others, but don't let this dishearten you. Public speaking takes time, practice and patience, but once that fear is conquered, it can be very rewarding.
Although rhetorical language comes in handy not just with verbal speech, but also in writing, public speaking is a good way to master the art of persuasion, even if it is arguably the most challenging. To make yourself feel better, do practice sessions internally in smaller groups before expanding to people outside of the company.
Practicing persuasive writing techniques
In your spare time, practice some persuasive writing, getting a colleague or trusted person to read through it and identify any strengths and weaknesses. Think about the techniques outlined throughout this article, such as repetition and metaphors, and try to seamlessly weave them in.
Studying and analyzing effective communicators
Another great way to learn is by watching other effective communicators. You can access clips of persuasive speeches on social media platforms, you could attend other conferences, make notes on what they did well or collaborate with other effective communicators you know personally. What are they doing well? How effective are their methods? Picking up on these things with other communicators will help to hone your skills.
Seek feedback and continuous improvement
Integrating rhetorical devices into your business life helps in so many ways. Not only does it make you a trusted figure for your team to believe in, but it can also help in closing sales or dealing with tricky conversations from stakeholders.
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