Why Toulmin's Model of Argumentation is Superior for OO
If I offered you a double fudge brownie and a slice of double fudge cake, which would you take? It depends right? Some people enjoy the dense chewiness of brownies while others prefer the fluffy texture of a cake. This is how you should decide on your argumentation structure.
Your choice depends on what you are looking to eat or achieve.
You may have noticed that Toulmin’s model of argumentation has some similarities to other argumentation formats such as CREI. However, it’s the preferred argument structure for most individual speech events including OO. There are two main advantages to using this model over CREI for public speaking.
First, Toulmin’s model is more inclusive in that it covers another perspective through the use of a qualifier. Since there’s no way for you to hear opposing opinions on the topic as in debate, Toulmin’s model allows you to predict any doubts that your judge may have and try to rebut them directly in your speech.
Secondly, the order of information is different. With Original Oratory, you want to constantly keep the audience engaged since they are passive listeners. To do this, it is often better to present your grounds first before any warrant because the grounds tend to provide that ‘shock’ or ‘wow’ factor. Then you can elaborate on your grounds further to provide additional context. If the order were reversed, like it often is in debate speeches, the story or statistic you present wouldn’t leave the audience feeling curious because the reasoning is already explained. Kind of like reading off the punchline before telling the joke.
Thirdly, warrants and backing in Toulmin’s models can be presented as evidence. In debate, your reasons and impacts should be in your own words. However, with Toulmin’s model, quotes from experts or statistics can be used instead because your audience is not there to test your logic as in debates. Instead, they are there to be convinced by information that is new yet credible.
How people are persuaded by your arguments is dependent on what they are looking to understand from your speech. In OO, your audience is looking to be entertained by informative eye-opening ideas. Because of this, Toulmin’s Model is often the best way to structure your main points. You can address any flaws in your arguments, rebut them, and present information in a way that appeals to the typical audience.
So no matter which argument model you choose to use, just remember who your audience is.