Rhetorical Views of Business Writing

Will Kurlinkus 1.8.13

“The faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion.”—Aristotle “The economics of attention”—Richard Lanham


Character. Credibility: How the texts you create, the style you write in, the design you use, the clothes you wear all create a persona in the mind of your audience that influences what they believe (or don‟t) about your message. Reflexive Design: “All about message, about culture, about the meaning of the product or its use…the personal remembrances something evokes…”—Donald Norman

“It is impossible to design a watch that only tells time.”

Businesses Core Values
“Moral Universes”

What does ethos look like in business writing?
What does a business document look like compared to a “regular” document?
Is “business” an ethos? What types of personas might a document create and how? Spelling and grammar? What else? Think about writing an email as well to a stodgy professor asking for an extension on a project. What type of persona would you want to create and what type would you want to avoid? How would you do this?

Types of Emotion
Affect: Someone‟s bodily reaction to an event. Emotion: When someone reflects on affect and attributes a cultural cause to it. Emotion touches on ethos more than affect does because emotion involves reflection whereas affect doesn‟t. Pathos: The manipulation of emotion and affect.

“Visceral design is what nature does…we are exquisitely tuned to receive powerful emotional signals from the environment….When we perceive something as „pretty,‟ that judgment comes directly from the visceral level”—Donald Norman Look, feel, sound: Color, curve. The Ideal reaction of a customer when looking at a product:
1. 2. 3. I want it—Pathos/Visceral What does it do How much does it cost

How might you create and control emotion in a business writing document?
How does one create brand loyalty? What would you do if you had an angry client?

The logical appeal. Like ethos and pathos, logos will vary from audience to audience. Is the information sound? Does this make sense? Can I use this? Is this understandable?
Information+Access: You have a set of information you want to get across to someone and you have to know how to deliver that information in a way that people will understand. Usability: A document or product that does what is required and is understandable may still not be useable. (Think about instruments like the piano, guitar, violin). Brings together the designer‟s model (the idea/message you have in your head) and the user‟s model (what your audience is expecting)

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