Rhetoric, in its simplest form, is the use of speech to serve the desired purpose of the rhetor. Such a purpose is not so easily defined, in a general sense, but seems to be defined almost entirely by the rhetors themselves. Many philosophers— some of the greatest thinkers our world has known— have discourses and treatises on the very subject: coming seldom to any true or discernible consensus.
On a personal level, truly meaningful rhetoric must be centered around, and grounded in, the search for truth. Truth is, of course, not always evident or discernible to the momentary mind, which is why one must always seek to educate oneself and be familiarized with how truth could possibly look, for any given situation, and be guided by that. The problem with such a quest is, what is true can be painted by one’s own perceptions and preconceptions. It can too be molded by inputs that are external to the individual. This is where the analytical mind becomes important: to study the evidence presented and to logically arrive at a conclusion, yes, but to also be open to being persuaded to alternative conclusions, were better evidence to be presented. Meaningful rhetoric should be focused on truth as its primary destination, not on the rhetoric as an end, in and of itself. At least, this is true in my estimation.
For More Rhetorical Analyses, here’s my Capstone