Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Listserv Communication

Sorry for the double post…again…it is Jason Swanson…again.


Listserv communication

I am a Beta here at Denison, and as a result I am part of a listserv to which only Betas and our advisers are privy.  People share exciting stories and successes they have, as well as asking for help with things such as work, picking classes, etc.  Every once in a while though, someone decides to air their concerns via the listserv, which never goes over well.  Since it is an email and one cannot see or hear the person speak, they have an absence of verbal and nonverbal cues and visual cues such as body language.  Often times, these rants or expressions of frustration are misinterpreted or blown out of proportion, which leads me to my point…email communication, or any textual type of communication for that matter, is pointless in my opinion, only if you are trying to express opinions.  If you are giving event details or congratulations to someone, email is appropriate but frustration and anger? Not at all.  It is better to discuss things in person so one can observe body language, listen to tone, and read facial expressions.  Thoughts from fellow Greeks?

Sales School

Sorry for the double post but I the one about Northwestern Mutual was from Jason Swanson

Sales School

So I just got a job at Northwestern Mutual selling Life Insurance and I am currently going through training to sell the product and I am pretty sure I have never seen a more powerful example of the art of perfectly rehearsed language being effective in persuasion or easing the mood of an introduction.  Throughout sales school, we are learning about how to speak to people professionally, but making it sound natural.  When I first started, I saw a script that you might use for telephoning.  It uses phrases like “might I drop by?” or “he/she spoke very highly of you.”  This language encompasses every introduction both to people you know and people you don’t.  I was first confused about how that would sound to say, my roommate or someone similar.  When I tried reading the script for the first time, I fumbled through it and determined that I wouldn’t buy anything from someone who sounded like I did.  I thought it would sound awkward, but when I heard the seasoned representatives read the script, it sounded so natural and calming because it was so well-rehearsed.  I trusted them more and felt more comfortable opening my mind to the different areas of Life Insurance.  It just goes to show you that when you rehearse your speech extensively, the odds of someone being persuaded are increased substantially.  I was blown away.

Appropriate on Facebook

I think it is fairly typical for individuals to check Facebook and see what is going on in everyone’s lives multiple times a day, at least for me it is. Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and keep people updated about the goings on in your life. However, in terms of the rhetorical situation Facebook is a nightmare. It is nearly impossible to know who your exact audience is on Facebook. Even though your personal settings may be on lockdown, there is never a guarantee that wondering eyes will not find you.  Therefore it is essentially to be extreme critical of what you are posting or uploading to your profile. By posting extremely personal information or scandalous pictures, you risk offending your audience. If the offended is a school administrator or a future employer, you just failed the rhetorical situation.

caroline cogan

Religion and Rhetoric

Religious leaders deal with rhetorical situations on a daily basis.  Speaking to their followers and believers is a rhetorical situation that they must prepare for on a frequent, regular basis. However, it is important for them to realize that often their audience is outside the walls of the worship hall as well. An example of this would be the Pope of the Roman Catholic church. Pope John Paul II was regarded by many as an excellent public speaker. John Paul faced many different constraints that were posed by his audiences. His main mission during his papacy was to inform people about Christians and Christianity. In order to achieve this, he had to reach out to non-Christians and speak to them in a way that was inviting and informational. However, he still wanted to keep the attentions and faith of the Catholic church as well. This posed a type of balancing act that Pope John Paul achieved with much success.

caroline cogan

Deaf Culture Awarness Club Persuasive Strategy Evaluation

Coming to Denison, I knew it would be a long process in persuading the faculty, staff,a nd students to accept Deaf Culture and specifically the language of Deaf people, American Sign Language. Not so much saying they are unreceptive to new cultures, but I knew the exposure of something new in a traditional culture would take processes to seemingly integrate into the institution.  This includes educating the Denison community on what they might not know.

As we learned in class our persuasive speech consisted of an Attention Getter, Refutation Strategies, stating the problem, establishing need, proposing a solution, presenting visualization, and call to action.

As of right now the DCGA senate just past a resolution to be presented to the board of Academic Affairs.  Although Deaf Culture Awareness see themselves as “coming a long way”, I guess I am still curious whether we took these same steps as a club unconsciencely.

Well, I know that there were certain things that the club had done, and can be checked off the list of things we did do in relationship to what we learned in class. I have to say identifying the problem.  Club members took the inititative to identify the problem with their peers, faculty and staff of the Modern Language Department and with the Provost of Denison Univeristy.  Although did not speak to a lot of people directly, word began to spread through word of mouth as to what the problem was; and that was the fact that Deaf people were not represented on campus and American Sign Language was a necessary class to add to Denison’s curriculum considering it is the third most used language in the United States.  Secondly, was our attention getter. I look at the attention getter and visuals not just in the beginning of the club’s establishment, but throughout the four years it has been existence because of the constant “renewal” of students. So, how did we do this?  Well, club members made a ten feet long sign that read “Deaf Culture Awareness Week”.  This sign was strategically positioned in Slayter where not only students seem to gather, but faculty, staff, and visitors.  It was even once, I overheard student hosts explaining to campus tour groups about the club and what it was striving for on campus.  By establishing a need and a call to action, we opened up a petition for students and faculty or staff to sign in supporting American Sign Language as a course.  To also establish a need we made a short documentary of our club’s mission and accomplishments that was shown to over 1,000 people where after our club’s ASL class was able to perform a song for the school.

With this said, I am curious as to whether or not you might think we forgot?  Was the strategy good or bad? Could it have been better?  Did you know everything that was just said?  how?

-Katelyn Johnson

Twitter Invasion

Our blog, at large, is filled with posts about social media/blogging as a form of public address. Some advocate for it, others against it. Either way, it exists. Social networking (myspace, facebook, twitter) and blogging are here and invading. Every facet of our lives are being taken over by social networking – relationships, consumerism, education and healthcare. It is now possible to exist as someone completely different via technology. Although this can be beneficial in many ways, in others does it go too far?

I think in the instance of Twitter, this might be the case. Through twitter, an individual’s life becomes one large situation of exigency. It is a constant form of “life-updates”. Every situation is given exigency by Twitter. Where ever, when ever, you can tweet to the public. Your ‘Followers’ are your audience and the constraints you face are endless.  There is no ethos – besides the fact that you are the one living your life, so when tweeting about it, you are the expert. However, in most cases there is plenty of pathos to go around. Although your audience may be huge, is tweeting really about the audience? Or, rather is it solely to benefit the speaker?


Carly Huber

Kanye West on Hurricane Katrina & G.W. Bush

In 2005 after the tragic natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans American television covered the story for weeks.  News cameras were able to reach the stranded populations at a time when the President and food aid was not.  In response to the atrocities that manifested in the tragedy the rapper Kanye West was able to voice his opinion about the matter in primetime television.   Kanye West points to the issue that the destruction in New Orleans is not a short term fix, that it takes time and dedication. Though at times inarticulate because of the obvious disgust over the situation, the point was clear when Mr. West stated with his last words stated on live television the infamous line, “George Bush Doesn’t Care about Black People”.


The Use of Proper Medium in Public Address

As we have seen throughout this semester, there are many different forms of public address.  One of the most important factors then in making sure that one’s public address has its desired impact is expressing one’s message through the proper medium.  Whether it be film, television, an actual speech, a blog, one wishing to get their point across must use the most effective method.  This is essential to connecting with the audience and ensuring that the message is heard and felt.  Think for example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the struggle for civil rights he continually made speeches across the country and staged peaceful protests, boycotts, even sit-ins to ensure that his message was heard.  he knew that answering the problem of Jim Crow laws and racial injustice with violence would be met with violence in kind for those looking to promote the African-American community as a harbinger of negative things.  At the same time, his “I have a dream” speech in the nation’s capital was designed to reach an extremely wide audience when the issues he was facing needed to be brought to the forefront the most.

At a later time, one of hip-hop’s most influential voices, Tupac Shakur, used both poetry and his music to speak to the struggles and injustices he still saw in society.  Hip-hop music had become increasingly popular and Shakur, like King, understood the medium he must use to ensure that people heard his message.  As a result, he would often speak of problems in the inner city for example in his rap music, where those who lived in the inner cities and were thus most affected by these issues were sure to hear it.  A speech from a prominent hip-hop artist on social issues might not be met with much regard–just as no one wants to hear a speech on why to buy a certain product, so companies advertise.  Tupac understood that the best way to get his message out was through his rap music.  Songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” allow him to exercise his voice in a manner that is respected because he does not attempt to venture into unwelcome territory.  It also helps him get his message to a widespread audience the best way he can, as popular music so often does.