A Rhetorical stance is the rhetorical position taken by a speaker or writer on a certain topic, with regard to how they approach the topic, their attitude toward the topic, and how they address the reader or listener. Thus, it is an important issue in several disciplines, including academics, journalism, and teaching.  
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The rhetorical stance with regard to the reader is described in the Dartmouth College Writing Program webpage "What is an academic paper?"—
It's important to determine not only what you think about a topic, but also what your audience is likely to think. What are your audience's biases? Values? Expectations? Knowledge? To whom are you writing, and for what purpose?
Thus, the reader must be considered in all circumstances. In academic papers, this reader is generally assumed to be knowledgeable on the subject and thus explanation of certain topics may be only touched upon or avoided entirely, whereas in a teaching environment the audience may need these terms expounded upon in detail.
Ethos, pathos, and logos
When a speaker addresses an audience, he or she must use certain modes of persuasion. Deciding how to best use ethos, pathos, and logos helps build up a speaker's unique rhetorical stance. For example, while some speakers may focus on pathos to connect with the audience's emotions and thus sway them, others may focus more on logos, offering data and hard facts which can convince logically-minded people, as well as help establish ethos, the sense that the speaker has authority in the subject.