Harmful Traditions That Cause Hazing

Michelle Guobadia is a speaker for The Catalyst Agency, a company that specializes in providing the best professionals that make change happen. Michelle Guobadia is the Director of fraternity and sorority life at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she oversees over 43 fraternities and sororities. Since she is a sorority woman alumna, she is very passionate and outspoken for Greek life and aims to provide a wakeup call for the organizations that are stuck in their harmful “traditions” that is hazing.

In order to preserve Greek life for future generations, she travels across the nation to spread awareness on college campuses. On November 1st, Guobadia made an appearance on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus to speak on the matter of hazing. Her ultimate goal is to better fraternity and sorority life at a national level so that future generations of students will still have access to great, everlasting bonds of friendships and connections. I chose to attend this event, not only because it was mandatory for all fraternities and sororities on campus to attend, but because of the positive reviews associated with her seminar.

The overall success of Michelle Guobadia’s speech was due to her ability to keep the audience engaged through the use of rhetorical devices.

Right off the bat, Guobadia does an audience analysis, and establishes her credibility for speaking. For example, at the beginning of the speech during her introduction she refers to the time spent as a fraternity and sorority life advisor as her “side hustle”.

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Guobadia acknowledges that her audience consists of mainly college students, so she adjusts her vocabulary to be more appealing for her listeners. Eventually, Guobadia moves on by telling her audience about her time in college when she was so desperate to be in a sorority, that she was willing to be hazed in order to join. After making it through hell, she reveals that she took part in the hazing of others as well. She provides a visual aid of her “[looking] like a deranged Muppet” covering helpless fraternity men in ranch dressing. While the speakers specific story involved hazing associated to Greek life, she also made it clear that sports teams, marching bands, and even clubs take part in hazing as well. In order to persuade her audience, Guobadia uses ethos by sharing her personal experience of being hazed and hazing others. By establishing credibility, the audience is more susceptible to persuasion. She was able to keep the audience’s attention throughout the story and transitions by making fun of herself, making jokes, and being very animated.

Additionally, in order to maintain the audiences’ interest, the speaker continually relates her topics of discussion to something that a college student would find relatable. For example, while trying to debunk the claim that hazing makes people loyal, Guobadia shows a picture of Jif peanut butter. She explains how she has always bought the same brand of peanut butter her entire life and absolutely loves eating the “smooth, brown deliciousness” by the spoonful. But after experiencing an exhausting, stressful day, a spoonful of peanut butter makes everything better and brings a smile to her face. Guobadia then asks her audience if they have ever made someone feel that way. When she asks the audience if they had ever made someone “feel that way”, she is actually asking if the audience has ever been loyal. The speaker attempts to simplify the situation so that the audience better understands what it means to be loyal. In doing this, Guobadia is able to maintain interest and keep her audience engaged by relating the more complex value of loyalty to a simplified scenario of eating peanut butter. Although Guobadia did not specifically call out members of the audience, she continually asked rhetorical questions that were meant to resonate with the listener in order to help convey her message.

Close to the end of the presentation, Guobadia starts to use pathos and logos to convince the audience to make a change and fight against hazing. She states that, “this year we lost four people to hazing. And if that doesn’t scare you then maybe this will. There is a 97 million dollar going rate for hazing lawsuits. We don’t have this.” She uses both facts and emotions to convince the audience that this is a really serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. She pulls at the audiences’ heart strings when referring to the fellow Greeks that died from things that could have been prevented. Then, if the emotional appeal did not work, she used factual evidence about the price of a hazing lawsuit. Knowing that the audience, being college students, are usually short on money, she knew that the monetary value would emphasize the seriousness of the situation at hand.

In conclusion, Michelle Guobadia did a great job at persuading her audience to take a stand against hazing. I can tell her speech was a persuasive because she used all the elements of the motivated sequence. She was by far the best speaker I have ever listened to because she was extremely funny and entertaining to watch. I would strongly encourage anyone to listen to one of her speeches, because she will not disappoint.

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Harmful Traditions That Cause Hazing. (2022, Feb 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/harmful-traditions-that-cause-hazing/

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