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Upgrade your persuasive power

Take advice that’s thousands of years old

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in Workplace Communication

More than 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle gave us a blueprint to speak persuasively. He said any message must contain logos, ethos and pathos.

Logos, or logic, means constructing a rational argument. You must support what you say with solid evidence or common sense. By providing verifiable facts or statistics to uphold your point, you make it hard for others to question the validity of your conclusion.

Ethos, or credibility, boosts your standing. Others must perceive you as knowledgeable and fair-minded. If they doubt your qualifications to address the subject, they may disregard even your most airtight arguments because they simply don’t believe you.

Pathos, or passion, rounds out your message. You must speak with enough conviction to show that you care.

Whether you’re giving a presentation or trying to win over a boss one-on-one, gain an edge by integrating Aristotle’s “Big Three” elements.

To build logic:

• Number your points in a tidy overview before diving into each one.

• Provide support for each point you make.

• Prepare different types of evidence ranging from historical trends to verifiable data.

To build credibility:

• Cite your source (such as a book, newspaper article or industry benchmarking survey).

• Acknowledge what you don’t know.

• Draw on your experience with phrases such as, “After seven years working on this, I’ve found …”

To build passion:

• Vary the tone, volume and tempo of your voice.

• Pause just before making your most important statements.

• Don’t be afraid to gesture or create word pictures that reinforce your points.

You must weave in all three ingredients. Leave just one out and you’ll undermine your persuasiveness.

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