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What is a credibility statement?

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A credibility statement is a rhetorical device that establishes the validity of the rhetor's position as articulated in a given speech or artifact. Credibility statements are often associated with Aristotelian models of argumentation.

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What is a credibility statement?
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In rhetoric, and specifically argumentation, the credibility of a speaker can be considered to be a signifier of the validity of their position. A credibility statement is a rhetorical device which seeks to establish this validity by exemplifying the qualities of the speaker. Following an Aristotelian model of rhetoric, this is typically achieved through an appeal to ethos, or character.

In the Aristotelian model, rhetoric functions along the axes of the Artistic Proofs: Logos, pathos, and ethos. These proofs represent, to paraphrase James Herrick from The History and Theory of Rhetoric, logical argumentation, emotional psychology, and the sociology of good character, accordingly.

As it can be seen, while the first proofs concern themselves primarily with the articulation of the speech itself, ethos concerns itself with the character of the rhetor himself. The importance of character in argumentation is found in the assumption that personal morality influences the explicit value of other statements, be they related or unrelated to that specific character quality.

To that end, a credibility statement specifically addresses the speaker's social context such as to establish the validity of their position on the matter at hand. Be it through the development of empathy via shared experience, the statement of expertise through practice and history, or the establishment of intent through the detailing of past intention, credibility statements support the argument of the speaker by supporting the speaker him or her self in the eyes of the audience.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where should the credibility statement be placed in a speech?

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    The credibility statement is important as it informs the audience that the speaker is well qualified to talk about the subject matter, which means that ideally any credibility statement should be included in the speech's introduction. The credibility statement is one of five components that should be a part of the introductory section of any speech.

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  • Q:

    What are some good examples of graduation speeches?

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    Good examples of graduation speeches include Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford University in 2005, J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard University in 2008, David Foster Wallace's commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005 and Neil Gaiman's commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2012. Graduation speeches can touch on many topics, including life advice, lessons learned and ideas to achieve success.

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  • Q:

    What is an extemporaneous speech?

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    An extemporaneous speech is an impromptu speech that is given without any special advance preparation and while it may have been previous planned, in a limited capacity, it is delivered without the help of notes. There are several organizations, such as the National FFA Club, that sponsor extemporaneous public speaking contests for members.

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  • Q:

    What should be included in thank you speeches for teachers?

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    A thank you speech for a teacher should include personal references to specific things that the teacher has done. Optimally, there should be some mention of the ways in which the teacher has helped create positive changes in the speaker's life.

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