How to Win Public Speaking Competitions Using Persuasive Arguments

Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike
How to Win Public Speaking Competitions Using Persuasive Arguments

What happened back in 1958? Here are a few highlights:

· NASA was created.

· The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3.

· The first peace symbol was drawn.

· And most importantly…Steven Toulmin created Toulmin’s model of argumentation.

Steven Toulmin’s Model of argumentation has several components that allow you to craft a persuasive argument and give your case strong backing. Each of its components: the claims, grounds, warrants, backing, qualifiers, and rebuttal, have an important role to play in building a persuasive Original Oratory.

Arguably the hardest, and most important part of them all is the warrant. Why? Because in order to write a warrant that logically connects your grounds with your claim, you need to both interpret the evidence that you have found and provide a logical analysis that clearly shows how it connects to your claim. Therefore, in this article, you’ll learn different types of warrants that can help you enhance your skills of logical interpretation.

There are six types of warrants to consider:

  • Causality
  • Sign
  • Generalization
  • Analogy
  • Authority
  • Principle.

Causality is the classic type of warrant. Essentially, it says that an event is the result of, or is affected by, a factor X. Let’s take the following claim as an example: “banning the sale and manufacture of tobacco products will save millions of lives every year.” Your grounds for this claim is evidence by the World Health Organization which says that smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the world. Now, you can say that because smoking already kills millions of lives per year, banning the sale of tobacco products will prevent people from having easy access to tobacco products and therefore save lives. The causality warrant is most effective when there is a clear causal link between the grounds and claim.

The second warrant is sign, which helps to explain how certain types of evidence are symptomatic of a wider principle or outcome. For instance, you might claim that yoga helps to improve students’ academic performance and your grounds to back up this claim are the following:

Harvard Health Publishing in 2016 explains that yoga has been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children, with a 2012 national survey finding that as many as 1.7 million U.S. children did yoga.

Now, because it’s not yet clear how yoga specifically supports academic performance, your warrant could say that improved physical and mental health is a sign that yoga impacts academic performance. You want to use the sign warrant when you aren’t a 100% sure about the causal link between the claim and the grounds, but you have reason to believe that they might be correlated.

Another interesting type of warrant is “Generalization”. This means that what is true for a large sample can be inferred to be true for everyone. Let’s say that you claim we often do things that subconsciously harm ourselves. Your grounds are evidence proving that many Instagram users suffer from mild to moderate depression. You can connect your grounds to the claim by saying:

Our use of social networking sites such as Instagram forces us to constantly compare our imperfect lives with the seemingly perfect lives of other users, which inevitably harms our mental health. Even other social networking sites that are not centered around photos have “story” and “newsfeed” features that prompt users to compare their jobs, vacations, and even wedding plans with those of others.

Did you notice that the large group is Instagrammers and we’re using them to generalize to all social media users? The warrant also adds an additional disclaimer to clarify that while not everyone is on Instagram, other social media users face similar problems. This warrant is most effective when you use data that draws from a large sample to prove why a given statement is true.

You’ve now learned about three types of warrants: causality, sign, and generalization, as well as how each type should be used. In the second part of this article, you’ll learn about the last three types of warrants: analogy, authority, and principle. Let’s dive in!

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Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike