Technical Writing, September 3rd, 2013Presentation Transcript
2) Rhetoric: Check it out!
3) Activity: Boothed
4) Activity part II: find a resume and get rhetorical
5) Share and discuss
Another quick Icebreaker: give us your name and tell
us what NFL team you’re rooting for this kickoff
weekend. Or, if you dislike football, what you plan to
do with your Sunday afternoon. :)
We’re going to catch up on discussing the Anderson
readings very soon. I’ve been stalling just a bit on
those because I know a few of you are still securing
the book. But make sure you’re keeping up. I don’t
want to have to pop an Anderson quiz. For today,
though, we’re going to focus our attention on the
Before we look specifically at Booth, though, I’m going
to do a little bit of the same of what he did and break
down some very basic foundational rhetorical
concepts for you.
Starting with Aristotle
Aristotle, famed Greek thinker, is considered the “Father” of
rhetoric. His theories are many, but the key foundation he
formed for rhetorical theory can all be mapped elegantly to a
Anyone remember that rhetorical triangle?
Moving to Cicero, we get the five canons of rhetoric.
Is akin to brainstorming. It’s about finding WHAT to say.
While the invention process might be peppered with other
things, it is primarily a moment of logic.
What do you want to say?
Arrangement is concerned with how the things you
want to say are put together. This can be as simple as
knowing what order you want to present things in, but
in technical communication it has a great impact on
things like headings and figures as well as sequence
and visual arrangement on the screen.
Style is about ethos to a degree, and logos to a degree, but
it’s more than anything the home of pathos in Cicero’s
canons. HOW are you going to say what you’re going to say?
What’s your voice? How’s this going to look?
Delivery is really the key to this whole system. How
are you going to GET what you want to say TO the
audience? Today, this is all about formats and media,
but it’s also about things like tone, about choices like
what type of paper to use, email vs. fax, etc.
In Cicero’s time, you had to memorize anything you
delivered, lest you look silly trying to read from the almost
non-existent forms of paper you might find in Rome.
But the canon of memory isn’t as much about remembering–
it’s about knowing your material cold so that you can
switch-it-up if you need to. In the business world the
difference between being good and being great is how you
handle heat, and memory here is a measure of that.
And a third
Because we’re going to look at document design, I’m
going to jump from Greece and Rome to something a
lot more modern and the work of Robin Williams. No–
not THAT Robin Williams. The designer Robin Williams,
and his theory of C.R.A.P.
As funny as it is…
… making CRAP jokes, it really is a foundational premise of
design, and it’s deeply important (and thanks to our sense of
humor usually quite memorable). The letters, of course,
Basically stated, contrast means that things that are
similar look similar but things that are different look
clearly different. This keeps your reader from
becoming confused and creating relationships that
It comes, of course, from literal contrast, the light-to-dark
or black-to-white of an image. In design it often ends
up being about color values.
This image is
it is also a
hyperlink to a
contrast, if you
want to learn
Maybe the easiest of these four concepts to
define, repetition is, just as you’d guess,
repeating something– a color, a logo, a
typeface, a type style.
It unifies and organizes.
Alignment is about positioning on a page.
Nothing should be put on haphazardly. There
should be a reason and a measurement that
guides where things are placed in relation to
The image to the right links
to a post that has some cool
reflection on alignment.
And there’s all
going on with
Proximity is very similar in theory to
alignment, but it’s more about grouping and
use of white space.
Basically: similar things are grouped together,
different things require space.
Back to Booth
I’d like you to quickly form groups of three.
Go through the Booth reading and look for a rhetorical
concept or framework I didn’t mention in this mini-lecture,
and put it into a one paragraph (or so) summation in your
… find a resume online.
Any resume, really. Just so it has content. Then I want
you to do a rhetorical analysis of it, using Aristotle’s
ideas, Cicero’s ideas, C.R.A.P. and whatever other
piece you pulled from Booth to determine how well or
how poorly the resume is put together.
For Thursday, read Anderson, chapter 8, and the sample
resume I posted on the schedule.
If you haven’t located a copy of the book, you need to make
sure to do that ASAP. I held off digging too deeply into that
material, but we need to start doing that on Thursday.
And remember your rough drafts are due a week from today.
See you Thursday!