Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CC Speech Project 4 - Rhetorical Devices (Ideas & Examples)

Toastmasters CC Speech Project 4 - Rhetorical Devices

Writing a speech that meets the objectives of Project 4 in Competent Communicator manual, is not that easy. It is not just "yet another speech". Your CC Project 4 speech should be specific, should use vivid words, should incorporate rhetorical devices, and use words economically, avoiding jargon.

(Also read: Competent Communicator Manual - Sample Project Speeches #1 - 10)

Many of my mentees ask (despite the examples given in the CC manual), ask me the following questions when writing a speech for their Project 4 CC speech
  • What are rhetorical devices? 
  • How do I use rhetorical devices effectively in my speech? 
  • What are the benefits of using rhetorical devices in my speech? 
  • Should I pick a special speech topic that would allow me to use rhetorical devices?
Rhetorical devices help your audience
  • - to understand your thoughts better 
  • - to remember your ideas for a longer time

The objective of this post is to equip you with enough ideas/examples to use rhetorical devices effectively in your Project 4 CC speech. You don't have to pick special speech topics for your Project 4 CC speech  You can convert an ordinary speech to a Project 4 CC speech by modifying some sentence structures to be specific, to have vivid words, to include rhetorical devices and by eliminating jargon.

The toughest thing to do is modifying your speech to include rhetorical devices. Toastmasters CC Project 4 encourages you to use the following 4 categories of rhetorical devices, that make the maximum impact:

1) Simile - A simile is a comparison that uses words "like" or "as". Some examples are given below:

  • She was as beautiful as a rose
  • My heart shattered into pieces like a glass bowl that was dropped on the floor
  • Like a sea that pushes waves constantly to the shore, great leaders ensure that the organization continues its journey of excellence
  • My happiness vanished in a moment, like a stone thrown into a deep valley.
  • Like a stone that creates ripples when thrown into the pond, his speech created several controversies
  • This project group is like an atom... you create more energy when you are split
  • Denying education to kids is like not watering the plants
  • He ran fast like a horse
  • Your experience will always come with you like a shadow 
  • Knowledge can spark innovation, like a match stick that ignites a forest
  • Like a tsunami that wipes of an entire community, the wealth of the family was wiped of
  • All the money that I carried in my valet was gone, like a camphor that vanishes in air
  • My passion was buring like fire in my mind

2) Metaphors - Dictionary definition of metaphor is "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable". You may ask, "What is the difference between Metaphors and Similes?". All similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes :) Metaphors are much more broader than similes. The Colombia Encyclopedia, explains the difference as - "a simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A". Some examples are given below:

  • "All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players" from Shakespeare is a famous metaphor.
  • Flags waved their hands to say NO, when Kovalan and Kannagi entered Madurai
  • He became a food for the hungry sea
  • Corruption is a cancer in the society
  • You have to identify the Goliath that is controlling you from reaching your goals
  • The fire in me kept me going towards my goals
  • If you are around, I can achieve my goals because you are my energy drink.
3) Alliterations - In alliteration, the initial sounds in words (or in stressed symbols within the words) are repeated in a pleasing or memorable manner. Some examples are given below:
  • Let us protect and preserve peace
  • The facilities are underutilized or unused
  • He was disappointed and dejected, when he heard the news
  • Beast and the beauty.
  • Practice, Participate and Perform for becoming successful (This is also an example of a triad).
4) Triads - Triads are ideas, or points grouped and expressed in threes. Some examples are given below:
  • Practice, Participate and Perform in our club meetings for becoming a better communicator 
  • Democracy is for the people, by the people, and of the people
  • Our vacation was memorable because it was entertaining, energizing and exciting
  • This government made us to lose our jobs, our fortunes and our lives
  • Let us lead an environment friendly life, by reducing, reusing and recycling plastics

Hope these examples give you enough ideas and tips to use rhetorical devices effectively in your Toastmasters Project 4 CC speech. If you are interested to learn about more such rhetorical devices, here is a repository that you should look at.

(Also read: Competent Communicator Manual - Sample Project Speeches #1 - 10)


  1. The extensive examples illustrate how usage of the rhetorical devices to any sentence adds color. :)

  2. Saro,

    Excellent tips for CC4 speech. Very useful