For thousands of years, the study of rhetoric was a fundamental part of a man’s education. Though it ceased to be commonly taught in the 19th century, my guest today argues that it’s an art well worth reviving in the modern day.

His name is Jay Heinrichs, and he’s an expert in language and persuasion and the author of Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. Jay and I begin our conversation with a description of what rhetoric is, why after being taught around the world for centuries it fell out of favor as a component of education, and why it’s still essential for everyone, especially leaders, to learn. We then unpack the difference between fighting and arguing, and how it’s the latter that’s a lost art, especially in our digital age. From there we discuss each of Aristotle’s three tools of rhetoric — ethos, pathos, and logos — including a dive into how the way your audience sees your character is so important, and how you can even do an ethos analysis of your resume. We then delve into Cicero’s five canons of rhetoric, and Jay shares a smart technique for memorizing a presentation, and thus delivering it more persuasively. We end our conversation with a fun game you can play to sharpen your rhetorical skills. 

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Show Highlights

What is rhetoric?The history of sophists and rhetorical studies Why did rhetoric stop being taught in school? What’s lost when we don’t teach rhetoric?What’s the difference between a fight and an argument?Can you have a constructive argument with someone who just wants to fight?3 primary things to know about your audienceWhy tense matters so much — forensic (past), tribal (present), and deliberative/political (future)  How to argue well with your significant other Aristotle’s “tools of character” How to connect with groups of people different from you Getting people in the mood to be persuaded What Homer Simpson can teach us about speaking Why logical fallacies aren’t always bad in persuasion Cicero’s Five Canons of Rhetoric The value of memorization when it comes to persuasion A rhetorical game to bone up on your skills 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Lectures on Rhetoric by John Quincy AdamsThe Art of Rhetoric by AristotleThe 35 Greatest Speeches in HistoryAoM series on Rhetoric 10112 Rules for Civil Conversation6 Ways to Bring Civility OnlineWant People to Hear Your Message? Let Them Overhear ItInfluence, Persuasion, and Personal PresentationHow to Develop Authentic GravitasHow to Improve Your Speaking VoiceAn Introduction to Public SpeakingThe Winston Churchill Guide to Public SpeakingThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman10 Ways to Improve Your Memory  

thank you for arguing by jay heinrichs book cover.

Connect With Jay

Jay’s website

Jay on Twitter

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