Cross-Training: How to Improve Your Web Writing Influence with Rhetoric

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation.

As a writer and communicator, I’m always looking for the next step in my education. Which is how I came across Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking available on the edX platform.

The class analyzes the rhetorical methods used in prominent speeches through American political history, and in doing so, it provides insights into broader communication techniques.

When I read the course description, I immediately thought of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Sure enough, it was the first thing we studied in the course, after the introduction.

Now, I am not a politician, and I’m not interested in political writing. So taking this class wasn’t the obvious choice for me to expand my blog-writing skills. But I wanted something fresh in my skill set, and I suspected I might end up with some unexpectedly useful tools by the end.

It’s a bit like competitive swimming. The best swimmers don’t just train in the pool. They could do laps all day long, but swimming alone won’t get them to that next level. All top-tier performers know that they don’t stand a competitive chance without cross-training. Each swimmer has a dry-land program.

In the same way, writers can flex new muscles by studying things a bit outside their normal lane.

Since I wanted to flex my creative composition muscles in ways that I hadn’t before — to heft some barbells and build a better butterfly stroke, so to speak — this course on rhetoric seemed like it might be a good fit.

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Lyle Mustard

Lyle Mustard

Lyle is a freelance writer for hire with a focus on long-form content and website copy. He spends his days developing his communication skills and finding opportunities to help businesses and other solopreneurs. He is on a mission to help other professionals express their brand’s true voice and connect to the market with personable and informative copy. You can get in touch at his website,, or email him at

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