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The Importance of the Rhetorical Triangle Essay

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2022

The Rhetorical Triangle includes the interconnecting elements of the speaker, audience, and situation. These three factors can determine how successful a presentation will be. There must be an equal balance of all three elements. The speaker must be credible, enthusiastic, proficient, trusted, and influential. They must personally believe in the information they are sharing with the audience. The speaker must be able to maintain the interest and enthusiasm of the audience. As important as it is for the speaker to be competent, the audience also has responsibilities. The audience must be alert, have an interest in the presentation, and feel as they are an important part of the presentation. The situational aspect involves the environment. Factors of room temperature, number of audience members concerning the room size, distraction levels, furniture comfort, and even the colour of the room play a role in the success or failure of a presentation. When anyone area of the communication triangle fails, the entire triangle may fail (Nugent, 2008; The Rhetorical Triangle).

In a video series containing the titles How to Smooth the Base of Whiteface Clown Makeup, How to Define Eyebrows for Hobo Clown Makeup, and Tips for Applying Clown Makeup, the presenter teaches the application of clown make-up. These videos are presented by a speaker that has enthusiasm in his presentation; he enjoys his role in applying clown makeup and instructs in a way to draw the audience into his presentation. In his instruction, he tells the viewer why he takes the steps he does as if they were there to ask the questions. Adding to his presentation, he informs in an upbeat manner, giving instruction and reasoning. He also adds his credibility as part of the ABC Circus at the beginning of the video; letting the audience know that he is competent in his instruction. The environment of the presentation is well lit and allows for proper viewing. The videos for applying clown makeup follow the Rhetorical Triangle elements of a competent and engaging speaker which involves the audience in a real situational setting. The lighting and acoustics complete the triangle to meet the situational goals (Anderson).

The video, Easy 4th of July Crafts for Kids, demonstrates how to make an easy craft for children to complete with their parents. The beginning of the video shares the credentials of the presenter as an art teacher. She has a soothing voice in a well-lit, neutral-coloured room. The instructions begin with a list of supplies to ready the audience before instructions begin. The presenter goes step by step, completing the project herself as she teaches. She gives measurements and paper sizes; she also gives the reasoning for why she is completing the steps involved. One lacking segment of the video is in step two; the presenter showed the completed step but does not instruct to complete that step. An audience member may need the step by step information to complete the project successfully. This is a reminder that the presenter must remember to introduce all relevant material (DiSimone).

A successful presentation contains a balance consisting of a competent speaker, an interested and well-informed audience, and situational factors that ensure a comfortable setting that is conducive to maintaining interest and understanding. The three pieces of the Rhetorical Triangle are interconnected and must exist together to ensure success. Just as a physical triangle cannot stand without one side, the Rhetorical Triangle cannot stand without all three of its sides working together to support each other (Roskelly).

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, P. (n.d.). How to Define Eyebrows for Hobo Clown Makeup.
  2. Anderson, P. (n.d.). How to Smooth the Base of Whiteface Clown Makeup.
  3. Anderson, P. (n.d.). Tips for Applying Clown Makeup.
  4. DiSimone, C. (n.d.). Easy 4th of July crafts for Kids.
  5. Nugent, J. (2008). . Web.
  6. Roskelly, H. (n.d.). Web.
  7. The Rhetorical Triangle. (n.d.).
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