2 – Rhetorical Situation


Matt McKinney; Kalani Pattison; Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt; and Anonymous

The deliverer (author/writer/speaker/creator) is the person engaging the audience in communication. Rhetorical analyses focused on deliverers typically explore their background and credentials, their relationship to their audience(s), and their relationship to the topic.

Deliverers are an important part of any rhetorical situation for a number of reasons. First, they initially determine how the topic will be framed and discussed. While effective deliverers typically frame their presentations or texts in response to their audience’s interests and needs, they also try to synthesize those needs with their own interests, strengths, and goals.

The deliverer’s relationship with their audience can affect tone and content, especially if they know the audience personally. For instance, if the deliverer is addressing their boss or supervisor, they may need to be particularly certain to employ a respectful tone, and if they are addressing friends or coworkers, they may be able to use more informal language and refer to shared experiences and knowledge more freely.

Deliverers will also frame their own identities as part of this process. The persona that a deliverer uses in any communication to promote their credibility is called their ethos. In the “Topic” section’s hypothetical scenario above, the consultant might identify themself as an expert on the topic of diversity in hiring. They might identify themself as someone with work experience similar to that of their audience. The consultant could even identify themself as someone who has benefited from diversity in hiring or suffered unfairly because of a lack of diverse hiring. A combination of some or all of these strategies is yet another possibility. Ultimately, focusing on deliverers when we are analyzing a rhetorical situation helps us understand both the choices that are available to them and the choices they make, as well as better understand ourselves when we occupy the role of deliverer.

This text was derived from

University of Minnesota. Business Communication for Success. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015. https://open.lib.umn.edu/businesscommunication/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



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Howdy or Hello? Technical and Professional Communication Copyright © 2022 by Matt McKinney; Kalani Pattison; Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt; and Anonymous is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.