Sometimes a well placed analogy can be the key to illustrating your point perfectly to your audience. There really isn’t much to it- just that certain analogies will really hit home with different people. Edmund Burke provides a great example of this, “Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence? If you do, speak out; name, fix, ascertain this revenue; settle its quantity; define its objects; provide for its collection; and then fight when you have something to fight for. If you murder—rob! if you kill—take possession! and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, violent, vindictive, bloody, and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you!” In other words, work something out and think about it first! Don’t just impose or take away taxes for no reason whatsoever! From what my source text says, this fell with immense weight on the audience.
One of the things that I have learned over the years of being a Christian and critical writer is that when you are giving somebody criticism, they will often act defensive and non-receiving if you give them your reproof incorrectly. I am here to teach you several simple ways to get them to listen to you and receive what you’re saying. First and foremost, you need to not come across accusatory. That will instantly shut down the conversation. Additionally, you need to express to them that you feel empathy towards their situation. You need to articulate that you are not trying to judge them and that you understand their circumstances. Furthermore, you can try a technique that I call the good/bad sandwich. To create your sandwich, you first need to give your listener some sort of compliment or praise. Then, you need to give them your reproof and/or correction. This will allow you to be on their good side when giving your correction. Even though it seems like a small or silly thing, try to use the word we at least once. It lets the person know that you are with them and on their team, instead of some evil and mighty judge that is way better then they are. Then, flatter them. “But wait,” you may say, “Isn’t that a cheap move?” Of course not! Flattery and compliments go a long way to letting somebody know that you notice what they have done or are capable of doing. I’ll give you an example of these techniques in action, “John, that document you created last week was fantastic. However, I was quite disappointed with your performance this week. We can do better than that. I know its tough, but I also know you have the skill to get this done.” At this point, you just pat them on the back, give them the secret handshake, smack them on the butt (Although I would not recommend nor endorse doing this to the opposite sex)- whatever it is that will get them going and knowing that they have your support. That, my friends, is a recipe for reception and success.
Educated he is, of that there is no doubt
Demonstrating poise and elegance
Mirroring the styles of great speakers
Understanding how to work a crowd
Never at a lack for confidence
Denouncing his opponents and their foolish ideas
Believing in his noble cause
Unrelenting in the pursuit of justice
Realizing when to strike
Kindling the fire of justice
Eccentric, an excellent portrait of effluent speech
Following the crowd’s energetic cries of “Go on! Go on!” Burke decides to reminisce about the previous days of the House. He talks about their most honorable moments, their victories, and the times that they came together to accomplish something noble. Then you can almost feel him looking pointedly at his opponent as he laments how those days are no more and how the House is separated. For any of those that didn’t catch his tone, he moved straight from talking about the good old days to about his opponent and how his opponent’s views were were wrong and poorly informed. With this strategy, even somebody who did not consciously recognize the connection that Burke was making would certainly make a subconscious note of that. A very sneaky way to further discredit his opponent indeed.
As he was about to continue and explain a certain point in his speech, Burke all of the sudden seemed to remember that he was still talking to a large audience about a quite controversial issue (although his sudden memory sounded quite planned to me.) He proceeded to speak to his audience, “I hope I am not going into a narrative troublesome to the House.” To which they responded, as I’m sure he anticipated, with cries of “Go on, go on!” This served a dual purpose. Not only did Burke keep his audience engaged and anticipating, he made them feel like he was in consideration of them and that he cared about what they were comfortable with. Smooth moves Burke.
Most of you who can remember your days in history class in school will remember being taught in some form or fashion about the tea taxes and the Boston Tea Party that sparked the American Revolution. For those who don’t remember or are so done with school that they don’t care to, I’ll give a brief recap. Basically, Britain put massive taxes on the American colonies for quite a few commodities, including tea. Now, the taxing of tea specifically wasn’t some unholy crime, but what it represented was what got the Americans angry. Colonies were not even governed by Americans, yet the British had the gall to tax them an inordinate amount? Preposterous! A little while after that America and Britain went to war, and the rest is history (Please, I shouldn’t have to give you that story as well.) Now we get to the food for thought. If Britain had lifted the taxes and done other things to soothe the colonists, would we still be part of Britain today? Who knows? I suppose it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t have gotten the accent either way.
It appears as if Burke is now ready to drop a bomb into his argument. After opening up with a his statement with a satirical comment directed toward “the noble lord,” (the man who had gotten Britain into the position it was at the time) he proceeds to inform his audience of the lord’s underhanded dealings regarding the law. He includes multiple examples of political failure and underhanded dealings, gives drastic numbers, and provides a critical commentary of the lord’s decisions regarding the tax fiasco- all the while maintaining a withering mockery of this “noble lord.” If you need a lesson in putting someone down, read some of this material by Burke.
I mean, just look at that face! So sassy.
So far in his speech, Burke has made an incredibly convincing argument that his method is the only way in which Parliament and the Ministry can save face. This is a position that anybody in opposition of Burke’s proposition would not want to be in. In this situation, the key to not getting sucked in is realizing what your opponent is try to do. In fact, that is the key to any discussion. You have to analyze your opponents strategy, devise an argument to counter theirs, and execute your argument. Trust me, the last place you want to be is in a position where you need your opponent’s solution.
I haven’t even read one-fifth of his speech yet, but already I am impressed by Burke’s skill. Following his suggestion of a solution, he proceeded to talk about how the Minister had screwed up in his execution of administering and repealing the American taxes. Everybody knew it, it was no mystery to the Parliament who was at fault. However, Edmund did not continue forward and bash the Minister. Instead, he masterfully explained that essentially, he was there to help the Minister save face. “Most men, especially great men, do not always know their well-wishers. I come to rescue that Noble Lord out of the hands of those he calls his friends; and even out of his own. I will do him the justice he is denied at home. He has not been this wicked or imprudent man. He knew that a repeal had no tendency to produce the mischiefs which give so much alarm to his Honourable friend. His work was not bad in its principle, but imperfect in its execution.” With that paragraph, he just got the powerful ally of the Minister on his side. I am very impressed with Burke’s progress so far in his speech and look forward to continuing reading.
Even as we open up in the Burke’s speech, its obvious that the good folks in the Parliament are sick and tired of talking about the Americans’ complaints about taxes. This topic had come up a good many times in their meetings, and at this point the members had taken to walking off to the adjoining rooms for refreshments instead of taking part in the conversation. Burke knew that it was about time to get these men excited, engaged, and interested, so he first addresses what they’re all thinking, “For nine long years, session after session, we have been lashed round and round this miserable circle of occasional arguments and temporary expedients. I am sure our heads must turn, and our stomachs nauseate with them. We have had them in every shape; we have looked at them in every point of view. Invention is exhausted; reason is fatigued; experience has given judgement; but obstinacy is not yet conquered.” The only reasonable response to such a thing is “Well Mr. Burke, what do you plan to do about it?” This is what Burke wanted, and he played it perfectly. He said what they were all thinking and expressing in a way that suggested that he had a brilliant solution to it. That is a great example of how to pay attention to your surroundings and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.