Platoweb Study Guide

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Unit 1: Persuading an Audience
This Unit Activity will help you meet this educational goal: 21st Century Skills—You will use critical-thinking skills and effectively communicate your ideas.

Introduction
Persuasive messages can greatly influence an audience. TV commercials are particularly persuasive: they combine both visual and oral techniques to persuade an audience.
There are many means of persuasion. You can use both verbal and nonverbal communication to persuade or convince a person. The message or meaning of an image can vary based on perspective. The decision to show one thing and withhold something else is a powerful way to use imagery to persuade an audience. How an image is presented—be it using captions or cropping the image to accentuate a certain part—has the ability to focus audience attention on one aspect while detracting attention from undesirable areas.

We are bombarded daily with persuasive messages—from food boxes to junk mail. They combine both visual and oral techniques to persuade an audience. Stop and think about the effects that the messages have on you, your friends, and your family.

By understanding the elements involved in effective persuasive speech, you will improve your overall confidence in communicating. When presenting information to a live audience, how you say something and how you physically present yourself are equally as important as what you say.

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Directions and Analysis

Task 1: Choose Persuasive Imagery
In the lesson activity for “Identifying a Writer’s Purpose,” you wrote a persuasive message to convince an audience to use a product. Now develop a detailed list of the persuasive elements that you created in your message to persuade your audience to your point of view. Review your list and determine what imagery will enhance each persuasive element. Choose a product (or service) and a target audience, and then create either a video or a billboard to present your product using the persuasive elements that you outlined. Think of the persuasive presentation of your product as a total package. It should appeal to your audience in terms of both thought and feeling.

Task 2: Videotape Your Presentation
Combine visual and verbal elements of persuasion to build your presentation. Remember that tone, pitch, rhyme, and catchy slogans can have a strong influence on how the audience receives your message. If you are creating a commercial, your presentation is the commercial itself. If you are designing a billboard, plan to videotape a one- to two-minute overview of the billboard and its message.

Videotape your commercial or your presentation of the billboard (show the billboard on camera and record a voiceover to present its message). Your video should be about one to two minutes long. Post the digital video of your commercial or presentation to TeacherTube and send the corresponding link to your instructor. You will need to register at TeacherTube to upload your file, but registration is free. If you have trouble using the site, read this helpful information.

Task 3: Critique a Presentation
In this unit, you created a visual presentation using a list of persuasive elements. You presented it to an audience to convince them to use a product. In this activity, you will view other commercials and critique the various techniques used to get a message across. As you review a presentation, determine the methods of imagery that will enhance the persuasiveness of the presentation.

Before critiquing your fellow amateur advertisers, evaluate a few professional persuasive pieces. Complete the Analyzing Media: Movie Posters activity to practice. In a small group, share your answers to the seven questions at the end of the activity. Also read chapter 23, “Influencing by Argument,” in The Art of Public Speaking, by Dale Carnegie and J. Berg Esenwein. Your teacher may ask the entire class to look...
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