Rhetorical critics suggest how to use symbols more effectively, how to communicate in more self-reflective ways, and how to construct messages that best accomplish intended goals. Familiarity with the processes of rhetorical criticism contributes to more effective communication with our friends and families, in the decoration of our homes and offices, in the choices we make about our dress, and in our efforts to present our ideas at school or at work.
Knowledge of the operation of rhetoric improves our skills as audience members for messages. When we understand the various options available to rhetors in the construction of messages and how they function together to create the effects they produce, we are able to question the choices others make in the construction of acts and artifacts. We are less inclined to accept existing rhetorical practices and to respond uncritically to the messages we encounter. As a result, we become more engaged and active participants in shaping the nature of the worlds in which we live.