So far, we have considered the canons of Invention, Arrangement, Style, and Memory, and today we reach the final canon in this mini-series: Delivery. (The series began here.)

Delivery is how you choose to communicate your message.  It includes the following elements:

  • Gestures
  • Body language
  • Tone of voice
  • Speed
  • Volume
  • Effective use of pausing
  • Proper enunciation

But what if you are a writer? Delivery applies to writing, too. Commas, punctuation marks, etc., establish pauses and speed in your writing. The delivery has more to do with how effectively you are getting your message across. It is much more challenging in writing to get a message across effectively than in person.

We know how easily e-mails can be misconstrued, right? It is not unusual that an innocuous message to one person reads like an offensive message to another. We can’t see tone, gestures, body language, volume, etc., in writing. But, we can certainly suggest it. Using all capital letters in writing, for example, has the effect of shouting to the reader.  The length of a piece can have an effect as well. If it is too long, you may lose your audience. If you don’t explain well enough and are too abrupt, you may not convince your audience.

Finally, to deliver effectively,  you must know your audience. Striking the right balance is both an art and a practiced, deliberate skill.

I hope that this mini-series on the five canons of rhetoric has been helpful and informative. It is a subject I personally find interesting and am continuously learning about, and that is why I chose to write about it. I love this stuff! We will continue tomorrow with more tips on effective communication.

Question for you:  What specific techniques can you choose to improve on, if you are a speaker? How can you better articulate yourself as a writer? Which “canon” speaks most to you?