Even after applying the theories or strategy while constructing our arguments, we also must consider several other factors when forming a constructive argument.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS WHEN FORMING AN ARGUMENT
Emotions serve an important function in our lives. But it shouldn’t be used excessively, and we should always be in control.
Understanding and controlling our emotions helps us communicate more productively. The same goes for our audience’s emotions.
The audience can be motivated, manipulated or even exploited by their emotions; though, a constant emotional appeal can end up impeding the audience’s ability to receive the message.
Business audiences can fool themselves into thinking that they’re immune to feelings affecting their judgment. Emotions are real and are part of how we make our judgments and decisions even though we aren’t conscious of some of them.
Practically, then, you are better off having the audience’s emotions work for you. Emotions energize persuasion and can have a multiplier effect on a message.
How does a writer evoke emotion in a business audience? Facts can create feelings such as when someone yells “Fire!”. A fact registers both rationally and emotionally.
The same type of reaction can happen in a business meeting. Everyone in a meeting is likely to have an emotional reaction to the fact statement about losing customers
Joseph A DeVito (Schiau, 2016) laid out five essential properties of emotions to describe the role they play in communication:
- Emotions Are Universal.
- Emotional Feelings and Emotional Expression Are Not the Same.
- Emotions Are Communicated Verbally and Nonverbally.
- Emotional Expression Can Be Good and Bad.
- Emotions Are Often Contagious.
One of an argument’s essential elements is the conclusion and the evidence to back it up. Evidence comprises qualitative and quantitative facts, calculations, inferences, theoretical knowledge, personal experience, and expert opinion.
Below are three guidelines to ensure your evidence passes the test of relevance in relation to your argument.
Any evidence provided should be:
- Supportive: Provided examples need to be representative; statistics should be accurate; testimony should be authoritative and the information authentic and reliable.
- Relevant: Given examples should be pertinent to the argument or topic and not be completely incomparable.
- Effective: Quality is given more preference over quantity, in that only the best available information including data/statistics and facts should be provided to support the argument, and no unrelated examples should be cited.
To convince an audience, an individual can forge data, manipulate feelings, and project a false character. Unfortunately, these misuses of communication are all too common, especially in business.
Both communicators and audiences have ethical responsibilities. You should never compromise on your integrity, especially in the business world. Because one mistake or false data could ruin any flawless reputation.
Everyone has opportunities to exploit communication for the sake of perceived advantage. But, when in doubt, ask yourself what outcome is best for you and the common good in the long as well as the short run.
When forming our argument, having a thorough knowledge of the purpose of your communication and your audience is key.
We should be as factual as possible. Being logical or rational is an expected trait a communicator should always have. And remember, the ability to argue skilfully is valued in business (and in business school).
Schiau, I. (2016). Review of The Interpersonal Communication Book, 13th edition by Joseph A. Devito, New York: Pearson, 2012, 432 pages. Retrieved 5 14, 2022, from https://doaj.org/article/ea657d046b3041308c259c85bba5ff10