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Rhetoric for Public Speech, Persuasion and Inspiring Others (19CIE15108)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Ed: 1 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Ed: 2 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Ed: 3 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización ENG

Group Teacher Department Language
Ed: 4 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización ENG


none: just a willingness and desire to be an inspiring speaker

Workload distribution

18.5 hour course with preparation for in-class presentations


Our great captains of industry are more often than not also great speakers. This is not a coincidence. Great speakers also show great charisma.

They appear confident, persuasive and convincing. They know how to get across key messages, and they know what language to use; they know how to work the audience and win people over. But how do they do it? Well, this class aims to discover just that, and to apply it so you can devlop your public speaking and persuasion abilities using techniques based on Greek rhetoric. The benefits will be noticied almost immediately, and you will need them....

Imagine you're faced with the following scenarios.

- You have been asked to present the latest sales figures and interpret the findings and make recommendations to the Board.
- You are asked to give a speech to a group of Masters students that are on a visit to your company. Your boss was to make the company presentation, but she has been called away. You have five minutes to get it together.
- You have been promoted to head of the 20-person, highly-experienced sales team. You want to ensure that everyone is going to get behind your agenda and your leadership. You plan to make a speech on your first day as the new manager.
- Performance is down and you know the team need motivating to get behind the project. You tell yourself now is the time to sieze the moment and get the team back on course. You stand up to address the crowded room.

By the end of this course you will be in a much better position to take any opportunity to get up to speak before others and also to do it well.

People that can speak confidently and persuasively in public will always be in demand. It's an essential skill for all managers in today's business world.

Key words: oral presentations, public speaking, non verbal communication in public, persuasion, rhetoric skills, organizing a speech, influencing emotions, being credible as a speaker, leading and setting out visions, story-telling.

This is much more than a course about how to make a presentation. Our undergrads already do that week in and week out. No, this is a course about how to put together strong arguments that influence and inspire audiences,

There is an enormous difference between a presentation which is confident, well-prepared, competently organized, clearly expressed, successful in establishing rapport with the audience, effective in communicating its message and competent in handling the questions and objections of the audience and one without these qualities. This seminar is about how to give your presentation and public speaking these qualities and improve your rhetoric skills in general. This importance given to rhetorical structures and debate will be a central feature of the course.

A speaker needs the skills to motivate the audience and involve them emotionally and rationally in the presentation, and to ensure that they retain the ideas that the speaker considers central to the message. Beyond having sound content and organization, techniques of verbal and non-verbal delivery are vital in giving credibility to the speaker. The availability of a range of support systems such as power point slides and a wide range of mixed media tools must be used to best advantage to convince rather than alienate, confuse or bore the audience: it is not the technology alone but its convincing use which is important.

A speaker must be able to handle human issues such as pre-speaking nerves, interruptions and hostility from the audience and the open-ended question and answer sessions after the formal presentation. If in addition to this he or she is not speaking their native language all these difficulties are compounded. Participants explore by practice and observation how best to address these ever-present problems.

Course Learning Objectives

The principal emotional intelligence competence we aim to develop in this seminar is Communication:

- Listening openly and sending convincing messages.
- Uses engaging style in presenting to an audience.
- Uses non-verbal cues to reinforce messages in presentations.
- Uses examples and/or visual aids to clarify or emphasize the message.
- Use rhetorical structures to influence others and get across your messages in a better way

By the end of the course, students will have gained the rhetoric tools to persuade audiences in different public speaking situations. And while verbal skills are very important, we also work on our non-verbal skills, which are equally important. During the seminar we also examine some of the great speeches we have heard and seen down the ages, and others that certainly shouldn't be remembered. We engage the rhetoric used by politicians, business people and anyone that has to present something in public and we try to use these in our own personal presentations.

Assessment criteria

At ESADE, skills seminars require that students attend 80% of the classtime.
Otherwise, evaluation will be based on the following:

20% Participation
10% Feedback to other students
40% Journal
30% Final presentations


Are You talkin' to Me. From Aristotle to Obama. (Profilebooks) by Sam Leith
Classical Rhetoric and the Modern Student by Corbett Conors (Oxford Press)
Various articles on presentations from Harvard Business School
Various historical speeches
Harvard Communication Letter selected articles
Various TED conferences
Topical newspaper articles on public speech

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Ed: 1 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización

Timetable Ed: 1

Group Teacher Department
Ed: 2 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización

Timetable Ed: 2

Group Teacher Department
Ed: 3 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización

Timetable Ed: 3

Group Teacher Department
Ed: 4 Steven Guest Dirección de Personas y Organización

Timetable Ed: 4