Introduction to the Canons of Rhetoric

Canons are a series of stages to prepare for speeches, which are invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery.

Invention is the generation of ideas for the speech, which is basically the preparation stage for the speech. I would relate this section to an outline of writing an essay or story because you want to make sure you engage the audience. You also want to make sure that you know exactly what you want to talk about and how everything will play out, so that you have a strong speech. The invention stage is where I feel I should focus the most because I don’t usually think about my audience when I’m writing, I just think of getting the work done and letting that be that. I believe the invention stage is the most important.

With the arrangement stage you have to structure your points in a place where it’s memorable and this is also a stage that I dismiss a lot when I’m writing. Arrangement is important not only with speeches, but any form of writing because you want the audience to be able to connect with what you’re saying and have a clear understanding of the point you’re getting across. Having a set structure of and proper transition of your points, will allow readers to be more engaged and understand the message that you’re trying to get across.

Style is the voice component of the speech, to which they say you should speak clear and use figurative language, such as a metaphor. When you use metaphors it brings more interest into the speech because it conveys different forms of imagery depending on the metaphor you use and it allows the audience to further engage in the speech. I would say that speaking clearly is the most important for the style section because no one will listen to you if they don’t understand what you’re saying, but most of all you should know what you’re saying being as though you wrote the speech. To me that also brings in that sense of confidence within the speech, because when you’re confident reading your work, every word can be heard clearly and you’ll read smoothly.

Memory is you being able to contain your speech and I connected this canon with all of my classes where we had to give presentations. While memory is thought of as preparation, it’s also ties in with eye contact because if you know your speech well enough you’re more likely to provide better eye contact with the audience. It shows that you’re engaged with the audience and that you know what you’re talking about. Sometimes it’s good to have a little note sheet, so that you can stay on track incase you forget a point in your speech. As they say practice makes perfect and practicing your speech in front of a mirror of in front of someone else helps with the memorization and confidence of the speech.

Delivery is the voice and body language of the speech and also the the most important of the five canons, in my opinion.  This is how you really get your message across to people and help them understand where you’re coming from.  Your tone of voice and body language says a lot about you as you’re reading your speech, one of those things being confidence. While you may feel as though you know your speech, standing in front of a large group of people can change that view and bring out your nervousness.  When people are nervous their voices become shaky and it sort of sends off a bad  message to some of the audience members, as well as with body language. Body language says a lot about you and it’s the first thing that people notice whenever you’re standing in front of them. Whenever you’re giving a speech you should stand tall and proud, so that the audience will know that you’re hear to deliver a message and not waste their time.

Source: Introduction to the Canons of Rhetoric

Posted by danisharogers   @   24 January 2018

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Jan 24, 2018
1:45 pm

I’m not sure I’d agree that invention is “most important,” but it’s probably true that it’s the most neglected. So, I guess I’d agree that one thing that would probably make the biggest difference in student performance is if they took the “invention” stage more seriously.

Jan 24, 2018
2:11 pm
#2 stevedumnich :

After reading your post along with watching the video, from my standpoint, I would say all of these are important but I believe style is the most crucial. Whenever I listen in on a speech people really do pay attention to the tone of the speaker. This to me really sets the overall feel of the presenter and the information he or she is trying to perceive to the audience.

Feb 24, 2018
3:32 pm
#3 danisharogers :

I can understand the point being made, but I would also say that the importance intertwines with the individual person.

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