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Rhetoric is one of the most powerful means of communication, which stimulates the actions of people by using oral or written speech. One may notice that influential politicians, businessmen, celebrities, and other successful people may be characterized as having outstanding speaking skills. When they appeal to their opponents, companions or masses, in general, the power of their words provokes more emotional and actual reaction of their addressees if compared with the discourse of ordinary people. The reason for this is the fact that they realize the power of a word and use it as a tool of influence. Moreover, they understand the aspects of oral or written speech as well as the human psychology, which results in the application of language to the specific facets in their addresses. Such approach strengthens the influence of their discourses and may even create an orator cult as it was in the case with the speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. Apart from public orations, rhetoric strategies and means are widely practiced by writers and journalists. This paper investigates the influential power of an article published in Forbes magazine. The rhetorical analysis examines the content of the writing, claims, evidence, and the general structure of the work as well as particular means of expression. The performed analysis allows revealing the writer’s usage of logos, pathos and ethos in order to help the readers to think, feel, and act in a particular way suggested by the addresser. Such investigation increases the skills of rhetorical analysis as well as improves expertise in rhetorical writing required for any person who aspires for successful communication in business and other spheres of life.
The performed investigation analyzes the article by Christine Comaford, who is keen of neuroscience and leadership, published online in Forbes magazine. The work is entitled “How to Make Good Habits Easy and Bad Habits Hard?” (Comaford) and discusses the aspects of changing the human behavior with the purpose of the increase of self-efficacy. The author claims that the people’s bad habits might be changed in a much more pleasant manner than one used to think. Thus, usually, self-improvement requires the application of significant part of inner sources when it comes to correcting the negative aspects of behavior. However, the writer argues that there are numerous examples in the real life when people gradually amended their bad habits and substituted them by positive ones even without noticing it. In order to actualize this statement, Christine Comaford uses particular rhetoric strategies and written speech means. Their implementation allows the reader to change the approach towards self-improvement and increase the will to correct one’s negative habits.
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In order to validate the rhetoric of influence, the writer divides her article into several parts, which develop specific subtopics ascending to the general statement and supporting it. Thus, structurally, the work is split into the introduction, the self-analytic part, the description of a proposed behavioral change tool, theoretical evidence, and the appeal for the alteration. Such structure validates logos, which is the provision of the case through the use of words, arrangement, and reasoning (Cavazos). In the introduction, the writer presents the evidence of her friend, who is an elementary school teacher practicing behavioral change strategies. This part of the writing demonstrates that specific patterns of the alteration are efficiently applied in children. Moreover, the aspects of the change are easy to understand by adults because they are a part of the everyday communication culture. Similarly, the appeal to children’s experience validates pathos, which addresses audience’s emotions supporting the claim (Cavazos). Moreover, the author uses the efficient transition from the introductive part. Thus, the statement “Culture is made up of many habits. Many of which we don’t think about, or think are unimportant” (Comaford) increases the interest of the reader and stimulates the will for reading the whole article.
Moreover, the main body of the work is the combination of analytical, theoretical, and practical evidence, which support the credibility of the general claim. Thus, the analytics begins with the question, “Which of your habits are normal?” (Comaford). In this section, the author stimulates critical and self-critical thinking in the reader entailing self-reflection and self-analytics. The statement “Some habits may seem trivial, but they add up to a total culture” (Comaford) allows realizing the importance of getting rid of one’s negative aspects of behavior. In this sense, the author suggests that a successful change requires the approach of increasing its convenience. Thus, one of the core assumptions of the writing is “It’s amazing how humans will habituate themselves around things that are more convenient” (Comaford). This idea is supported by several real-life examples, for instance, by the convenience of “one click” shopping button. Similarly, one of the examples of the efficient approach towards the change is a piano stairway in Sweden, which decreased escalator use and increased stairway use by 66% (Comaford). Moreover, this part of the writing sets a considerable list of questions, which provoke the reader for finding personal flaws in terms of one’s behavior. Consequently, after finding them, the addressee would be interested in the ways, which can fix the issues and improve one’s quality of life. This part gradually transits to the section of the theoretical support, in which the journalist presents the results of scholarly investigations of the approaches towards the behavioral change.
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The presented theoretical support of the proposed ideas for the behavioral change claims that the most critical aspect is the human motivation and attention. Thus, the author presents the evidence of the theoretical study, which concludes that the prospective of rewards reduces the power of motivation (Comaford). At the same time, Comaford argues that “attention is our most precious commodity when it comes to habit change” (Comaford). Furthermore, the writing states that the behavioral alteration is one of the most stressful factors for people and requires specific strategic approach. Consequently, such claim supports the interest of the reader. The proposed strategy for solving the issue of behavioral change is presented through the results of the investigation of the sources of intrinsic motivation. Among them are the challenge, curiosity, control, fantasy, cooperation, competition, and recognition (Comaford). Therefore, the author not only states the problem but also gives enough information in terms of its mitigation. Along with this, the writer presents the specific guideline, which allows successfully implementing the changes after the detection of their need. Thus, she advises taking small steps towards one or few simple alterations in order to “work best to form new habits” (Comaford). This statement is also validated by the claim that the guideline is suggested by the experts, and therefore, it is efficiently working. The author concludes the writing with a question, “What habits would you like to change at your company?” (Comaford), which provokes the active reaction of the reader. Moreover, it broadens the scope of stakeholders of the advised solution because it ascends from the transformation in the behavior of a single person to the one of the group behavior in a business setting.
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Lastly, one should notice, that the efficiency of the writing is actualized by the speech style of the author. Thus, she commonly uses epithets and metaphors such as “a month sounds extreme”, ““I don’t care” culture” (Comaford) and other when characterizing actions and thoughts. Moreover, one of the most widely used aspects is questions, which include simple and rhetoric ones. These characteristics validate the efficacy of the appeals to pathos and logos. Similarly, the presented evidence of the experts produces the relevant appeal to ethos, which is the call to a good reputation or a public persona (Cavazos). In this case, the author supports her opinion by the expertise of her friend and the views of the scholars, who performed relevant investigations. Therefore, the analyzed article serves as a role model for a successful rhetoric writing, which can be traced at the levels of structure, rhetoric speech tools, and appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos.
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Summarizing the presented information, the paper comes to a conclusion that the author of the analyzed article efficiently used the wide scope of rhetoric strategies in order to stimulate the reader’s emotions, thoughts, and actions. Thus, the writing has a specific structure, which increases its comprehension and gradually captures the interest of the reader. Moreover, the author refers to real-life and theoretical evidence in order to support her statement. Therefore, discussing the characteristics of the behavioral change the writer claims that the most important aspect is attention towards the alteration instead of motivation. Along with it, the author not just states the issue but provides the framework for the change. As a result, the interest of the audience is supported throughout the whole reading. Furthermore, the analysis of the author’s speech allows stating that she often uses such rhetoric means as epithets, metaphors, and rhetoric questions. Such writing style increases the comprehensibility of the material and extends the understanding of the presented concepts. Therefore, the analyzed writing successfully appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos for stimulating the emotions, thoughts, and actions of the reader.
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