BIK 2913 Rhetoric - the art of persuasion in speech and writing.

Norwegian version

BIK 2913 Rhetoric - the art of persuasion in speech and writing.

Responsible for the course
Maria Isaksson

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

Is it possible to learn how to become a successful speaker? Can you learn how to write good texts? Can you strengthen your professional and personal credibility? Of course you can. The art of speaking and writing can be learned and rhetoric makes this possible. Rhetoric is the art that the Greeks regarded as fundamental to leadership and to leading people. Everybody can learn to be better speakers; everybody can learn to be better participants in conversations; everybody can learn to write persuasively and effectively. Rhetoric helps you convince your audience to accept a point of view or a message. Speech and writing need to be adjusted to the sender and the audience, the issue and the argumentation, to time and place; to what is called the rhetorical situation. The better these elements are coordinated, the better the rhetorical effect.

Learning outcome
Students should show the following theoretical learning outcome after having completed the course:

  • have basic knowledge of rhetorical theory and terminology
  • have an understanding for language, style and coherence aimed at persuasion in speech and writing

Students should show the following practical learning outcome after having completed the course:
  • possess rhetorical skills relevant for communication at work and for other contexts where messages are to be presented
  • be able to present a problem clearly and sensibly
  • be able to argue effectively and credibly
  • be able to construct their own speaker roles with respect to context
  • be able to engage their audience in speech and writing
  • be able to do rhetorical analyses in order to evaluate how the speaker (ethos), the text (logos) and the audience (pathos) connect and influence the whole
  • be able to give a speech

Students should show the following attitudinal learning outcome after having completed the course:
  • be able to communicate the importance of meaningful and effective language usage
  • be able to contribute to a better work environment based on mutuality and co-existence

Work experience.

Compulsory reading
Gabrielsen, Jonas, Tanja Juul Christiansen. 2010. Talens magt : indføring i mundtlig retorik. 2. udg. Reitzel. 191
Kjeldsen, Jens E. 2015. Retorikk i vår tid : en innføring i moderne retorisk teori. 2. utg.. Spartacus. Opptrykk av 2006-utg.

Recommended reading

Course outline
Day 1. What is rhetoric?
  • To persuade, raise interest, demonstrate understanding, result in action
  • The production of verbal messages and credible texts
  • Analyzes, interprets, constructs, evaluates, critiques
  • Takes a holistic perspective

Skills: Outlining a speech text for oral presentation; practicing oral presentations

Day 2. Ethos: Credibility – competence, character, goodwill
  • The credibility of the speaker
  • Authority, authenticity, trust
  • Personal and professional ethos

Skills: Constructing writer/reader roles; developing tone of voice, training body language

Day 3. Pathos: Feelings, appeals and persuasion
  • The impact of text and speech on readers and audience
  • Involvement, commitment, identification

Skills: Writing second drafts based on feedback; accommodating language, style, tone of voice to audience

Day 4. Logos: Argumentation, thesis and arguments
  • Diction, argumentation – fact and reason
  • The good argument
  • Argumentation and positioning

Skills: Developing a thesis, finding good arguments, working on coherence for speech and text

Day 5. Speech and body language.
  • From text to speech. Theory and practice
  • Body language. Individual training and exercises
  • Oral delivery: exercises

Skills: Oral delivery

Day 6. Evaluation: Speech delivery or oral presentation

Computer-based tools

Learning process and workload
Six days, 36 hours in one semester.

The portfolio is submitted as process evaluation and consists of three parts. Part 1-2 are submitted on a given date after the end of the course. Part 3 is performed in class on day 6.

Part 1: Write a speech text (2 pp.) on a topic chosen by the student about a communication problem or challenge related to the workplace of the student. The assignment is written individually, but students receive feedback in group.
Part 2: Write an essay about the process of the written speech, 8-10 pages. Feeback by peers and instructor.
Part 3:Oral delivery (7 min) of the speech text with fellow students acting as audience in class. Performed and evaluated on day 6 of the course.

Examination code(s)
BIK 29131 - Process evaluation; accounts for 100% % of the marks in the course BIK 2913, 7,5 credits.

Examination support materials
All aids are allowed

Re-sit examination
Re-sit at the next ordinary exam.

Additional information