ERIC Number: ED178964
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: 0
Practicing Rhetoric Without Speaking.
Johnson, Ralph A.
Just as strong limbs do not ensure self-defense in an age of modern warfare, so strong persuasive appeals do not ensure self-defense in an age of highly technologized communication systems. The fragmentation of the audience, the inherent loss of credibility associated with the decreased status of rhetoric, and the competition among messages all have contributed to the contemporary difficulties encountered by the speaker as defender and persuader. But even as the value of public speaking diminishes, the values of understanding public speaking methods and the whole rhetorical process remain quite important. An audience-centered rhetoric deflects attention from the effectiveness and activities of the speaker to the reasoning activities of the audience. More persuaders are not socially or politically desirable, because more rhetorical stimuli may be harmful as well as ineffective. An audience knowledgeable about rhetoric and active in rhetorical processes holds the power to change attitudes and take actions. As the power of speech diminishes as a tool for self-defense, the power of reason increases in its attraction. And in reasoned silence the audience holds the balance of power in the rhetorical situation. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Communication Association of the Pacific (Honolulu, HI, July 30-August 1, 1979)