Bill Clinton’s DNC speech as a model for persuasive writing
Former President Bill Clinton’s speech was overwhelmingly named the highlight of last week’s Democratic National Convention in a Pew Research Center poll, and whatever your politics, you can’t deny the skill involved in keeping an arena-full of people hanging on your every word for more than three-quarters of an hour, which Clinton did.
So how did he do it?
Mallary Jean Tenore reviews the “10 rhetorical strategies that made Bill Clinton’s DNC speech effective” at Poynter.org, and while some of those strategies are native to the spoken word, the post offers some insights that writers can use.
Here, according to Tenore, are the 10 rhetorical devices Clinton used:
- Inclusive language (as in “we Democrats” and “my fellow Americans”)
- The “rule of three”
- The power of one (a word that stands alone)
- Instructional language (as in “Now listen to this”)
- Explanatory language (as in “Here’s what really happened”)
- Questions and answers
- The end (a strong ending that ties to the beginning)
Read Tenore’s post and see if you use any of these rhetorical devices when you’re trying to be persuasive. Or better yet, if you don’t but you think you can start.
Are there other rhetorical devices not mentioned that you find effective in your writing?