Because humans exist in social situations, communication has always been a part of what it means to be human. Basic forms of communication, such as smiling or adopting certain physical stances, may be considered instinctive. However, when language began to replace sounds and gestures, communication became more specific. People used language to give and seek information, to express and react to emotions, and to persuade others to think or act in certain ways.
These ideas became central to Greek culture and patterns of behavior that characterized their way of life. This chapter will address persuasive techniques: how people use words to influence, lead, create new understanding, and rouse others to action. Your writing task will be to identify, explain, and analyze the strategies a particular writer uses to persuade readers. Analyzing the rhetorical strategies of other writers will help you develop your writing identity as you learn to incorporate some of these strategies into your own work while rejecting others.