This is the third in a series of five posts about classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. If you missed any in the series, you can find links near the end of this post.
So far, I’ve discussed the opening or exordium and the narratio or brief outline of the speech. With these two parts, you’ve warmed up the audience to you and your topic. Now its time to get down to business. The next part of a presentation is the Partitio. Here is where you set out the main arguments that you want to make.
If this is a speech to convince the audience of your views, you might say something like “What we need to do to address this problem is …”.
If this is a sales speech, you might say “The reason my products or services are particularly suited to solve your problem is …”.
If this is an expository or educational presentation, such as our dog-training example, you might say “The first thing you need to establish is your dominance in the pack. Your dog must know that you are the alpha dog.”
The classical Greeks and Romans might follow the partitio with a Confirmatio, where they would bring even further proof of their position, adding additional arguments.
So, here’s the structure of a good presentation using the classical rhetoric techniques:
- Introduce yourself as a likable authority on your topic.
- Tell the audience what you’re going to talk about.
- Lay out your facts, perspective or reasons for your position.
So, are you ready to close? Not really.
The next step, the Refutatio, is to clear all doubts, which I’ll discuss in my next post.
Previous Posts in this Series
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