SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
Everyday we communicate with our family, friends, and even our pets. Our communication ecosystem is so broad and we create points and arguments all the time. In this blog, I will be talking about building a persuasive argument or point. This is as easy as stating your favorite ice cream flavor or stealing underpants.
I’ve competed in speech and debate for the last 10 years and I’ve learned so much in platform speaking, limited preparation speaking, and interpretation. In college, I came into the world of debate and I was super shy about this. I grew up not arguing about politics or arguing in general, but my coach wanted me to learn this skill for my future endeavors. He taught the new team members and I about building arguments and we must always incorporate these speech mechanics: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
Ethos in simpler terms: development of credibility. This is where you showcase your passion, confidence, and who you are to the audience or individual.
Logos in simpler terms: is the information and tying the logic with evidence. Evidence can be experience, opinions, statistics, and other things that should backup your logic.
Pathos (this is my favorite): tugging on the heartstrings. This is where you can make your audience or individuals feel moved by your argument. This can be from happiness, humor, and even frustration, but this is important so that your argument is not bland.
My coach further explained something that I will never forget, building an argument has 3
1. Tagline (what is the idea or theme?)
2. Evidence (supporting the theme or idea)
3. Impact (why is the argument important?)
EXAMPLE: He used a South Park Reference of Gnomes who steal underpants:
1. Steal Underpants
Throughout the episode the Gnomes struggled in getting their message across because they were missing step 2 of their plan. How will they make profit from stealing underpants? This episode cracks me up because they created a blueprint for the pitfalls of arguments and if you do not have the 3, then the argument WILL fall through. Remember this when writing essays, speeches, roasts, or a wedding toast.
The ice cream development is what I did with my CMST 101 students, where they learned the 3 steps and applied it to their favorite ice cream flavor. Here is my blueprint:
Tagline: My favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.
Evidence: When I was little, after a soccer game or doctor's visit, my parents would always take
me to Braums for strawberry ice cream (evidence is built from experience).
Impact: These happy memories bring me closer to my family and heritage when I take a lick of
strawberry ice cream and it makes me think of them.
The ice cream is my favorite because of the connections. If you need practice with building arguments, try this method!
For more articles by the Speaker's Center, check out these!
Marco Ramirez, Contributing Writer
Ramirez is the assistant coach for the Southern Illinois University Debate Team. The team this semester is competing in the British Parliamentary Debate. If you are interested in joining and competing, please contact Todd Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org . During this period, the tournaments have gone online and we have competed at 2 tournaments this semester and had success with our students.