The Study Dude – Thank you for Arguing, Conclusion

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to wind up as leader of your next Athabasca University group project.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

This week’s article continues to examine the book Thank you for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion by Jay Heinrich. Brace yourself. This time, we conclude your readership orbit around the art of manipulation, which has now sucked you, flailing arms and all, into the dark recesses of rhetoric.

A Time to Laugh. A Time to Cry. A Time to Persuade.
Timing can work in your favour. I once performed a dance routine at a creative academic conference where every dance movement was timed intricately to each beat of the music. (Yes, folks, dudes dance!) I polished the routine to a shine and timed it so meticulously that multiple video recordings of the dance routine easily aligned in the editing process. If timing depended solely on practiced performance, I nailed it.

However, when it comes to telling a funny joke, my timing stumbles and jars. I’m better at receiving a joke than doling one out. My partner, on the other hand, sparks bellowing laughter in every room with a joke. My partner also knows exactly when to bring up an issue, and when to pose a solution, and when to change the topic, and when to make you smile. If timing depended solely on quick assessment, my partner’s nailed it.

Timing doesn’t just apply to jokes or movement, but also to how you handle group dynamics and work relationships. Jay Heinrich advises on how to manage timing in your day-to-day routine:
Kairos means mastering timing to persuade. Timing involves perfecting the right moment to make the best impact.
– Prepare the optimal time, place, and people for your act of persuasion.
– When giving or attending a presentation, once the mood changes, the timing is ripe for persuasion. Jump on that moment to put your views forth.
– Try to speak last at a meeting or conference, as the last to speak gains a competitive advantage.
– If you want to propose some costly activity, propose it at the end of a financially successful year.
– If you attend a group meeting of some sort, once the discussion starts to die off, summarize the discussion in a way that benefits your point of view. Also, once the meeting nears its end point, bring up your perspectives as if you are reluctant to do so (which, of course, you are not reluctant to do in the slightest).
– Show lengthy move trailers to increase your movie viewership. Post more of your book for free online to get more people to purchase the full version. Sell to people when they are hungry, as people buy more when the hunger pangs kick in.

Which Choice of Medium to Propose? To Inform?
Don’t ever try to sing and instrumentally play a composition over the phone. Some people can sing and play an instrument through any medium and sound fabulous. A friend of mine went through no formal music training, but managed at a very young age to mimic vocals beautifully. This friend serenades with more passion than Celine Dion.

I, on other hand, had the misfortune?possessing no innate musical gift?of teaching myself how to play the piano, how to sing, and how to write songs. Needless to say, my cheap consumer synthesizer and poorly trained vocals didn’t resonate well over the phone. One friend on the other end of the line denounced my music as harrowing. Yet, when I entered a recording studio, my vocals miraculously transformed. Perhaps the headphones tight to my ears and the microphone infused an otherwise amiss confidence. Listeners marvelled over the sound quality, too. “What happened to your voice?” they asked, to my delight and dismay. Needless to say, I favoured myself a song-writer versus a performer.

So, the secret is to choose your medium wisely. Jay Heinrich gives some great advice on how to select your medium, not for artistic expression, but for persuasion.

Your medium for persuading others should depend on some strategic combination of ethos (values), pathos (emotions), and logos (logic).
Different media evoke different emotions. Music evokes pathos (emotion); smell, pathos; sight, pathos; sight for written text, logos (as we sound the text in our heads); sound, logos; touch, pathos; taste, pathos; reading, logos.
Shorter emails evoke ethos (values); longer emails evoke logos (logic), so shorten emails for subordinates and peers and make them longer for your line of bosses.
Phone calls and conference calls evoke logos.

Cicero’s Five Canons of Persuasion
I once wrote a creative piece on Plato’s Myth of Er. I switched out Plato’s Er and replaced him with Hitler in the story’s afterlife scenario. Coming up with the plot for the script proved easy. The hard part involved timing the script precisely to a nine-minute piece of music. Each phrase needed to fit concisely in a series of beats or measures. I delivered the performance piece through a professionally recorded audio component (with my voice over) and added a PowerPoint artistic slideshow, timed precisely to the music.

If Cicero were alive today, he’d surely have been proud. I followed Cicero’s five canons of persuasion in articulating an artistic speech that aimed to convey the principles of Plato’s afterlife scenario as I saw fit for Hitler. (Hitler ends up choosing to be reborn as a Jewish person to repent for his sins, finalizing with rebirth as a Jewish person in the time of Hitler’s own regime. It was a twisted story, but it relayed the gist of Plato’s tale.)

Enough ado on Plato, now for Jay Heinrich’s outline of Cicero’s five canons of persuasion:

– Cicero’s five canons entail (1) invention, (2) arrangement, (3) style, (4) memory, and (5) delivery.
– Invention has to do with creatively coming up with what you want to express. Make sure that you present both sides of an argument, starting with your opponent’s and concluding with your own.
– Arrangement involves ordering your speech. Follow the order of introduction, narration (facts and figures), division (your and your opponent’s points of view), proof (your examples), refutation (where you quash your opponent’s views), and conclusion (where you should consider providing some pathos or emotion).
– Style means tweaking your speech for audience fit. Choose your words selectively to fit both the audience and occasion. Use vivid language, and consider using figures of speech to decorate your wording.
– Memory includes, traditionally, well, committing it to memory, or, conventionally, placing the speech on cue cards or in a PowerPoint as bullets. Imagine a house and fill it with wild imagery to tap into your memory palace.
– Delivery entails the actual presentation of the speech. Move closer to the audience to emphasize points. Vary your tone and speed of speech depending on the action and emotion of the content. If you want an instant confidence boost, speak loudly

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

Heinrich, Jay. (2013). Thank You for Arguing. What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.