Persuasion Basics (intro)
When you need results and don't just want to argue!
Welcome to STOP ARGUING! the communication service blog of professor Emily Herrington. This project started because I feel called to share some of the skills, strategies, and truly interesting ideas I encountered in the world of critical rhetoric, where I got my PhD.
Before finding rhetoric's treasure trove of tools for being clear and seeing clearly, I scoured the terrain of poetry, science, and philosophy (B.A., English, 2008; M.S., science writing, 2011; M.A., bioethics, & Ph.D., communication, 2019) looking for illumination.
I wanted to know: how does communication work? How do we know when we are clearly sharing thoughts?
I found what I was looking for in the vast and complicated territory of rhetoric, the scholarly study of persuasion. Nearly every rhetorical concept I encountered helped me see something, or say something, well and at the right time. Straightforward and easy to apply, the observations of ancient and contemporary rhetoricians also felt timeless (rarely expiring in their descriptions of human behavior), ubiquitous (able to be seen everywhere), and limitlessly adaptable (able to be applied in many kinds of situations).
What I didn't find in the world of rhetoric, was a lot of other people! This once (in ancient and midieval times) essential study of human communication is now a specialty field — even among humanities professors, only some train in critical rhetoric — too few considering the powerful thinking-and-seeing value of rhetorical concepts.
I'm starting this blog so more people can start using rhetoric to see and meet the intractable challenge of other minds. The first "short course" offered in STOP ARGUING! is a three-part series on making persuasive arguments that don't lead down rabbit holes or lead to frustrating stalemates.