“3 forms of persuasion = unstoppable success.”
Ethos: Character of the Speaker
Ethos is the first mode of persuasion. The intent of the speaker is to appear credible. According to Aristotle, there are three prerequisites that are necessary to appear credible: Competence, Good Intention, and Empathy. Jeremy Porter, a communication consultant, gives a great example of ethos: George Clooney.
“If George Clooney was to take the stage and begin talking about the art of acting, he would already have Ethos. People know Clooney is an actor and is good at his craft. He isn’t required to build authority, credibility or trust with his audience. A player from the local theater company is less likely to be known to their audience and may have to build ethos with the audience,” (Porter, 2014). However, “if he was to take the stage and talk about basketball, he may have to build ethos with his audience because they might not be aware he’s a basketball fanatic. Clooney would have to talk about his love for the game going back to high school, recall his game with the President, and his love for the Dallas Mavericks,” (Porter, 2014).
So, taking the example from Porter, how do we apply it to the marketing industry? Simple enough. Remember, Ethos is how the speaker appears- the character. Additionally, your goal is to appear credible. The way you appear credible is knowing the area of expertise you are in. With the knowledge of your specific field, consumers will want to put their trust in you. Trust is one of the foundations of persuasion. There is a lot of research that goes into knowing what you do, however, if you are like George Clooney, and know what you are talking about, the art of persuasion will be in your hands.
Pathos: Emotional Influence
Pathos is a persuasive technique that tries to convince an audience through emotions. Pathos appeal to the senses, memory, nostalgia, or shared experience. The goal: build a common bond through shared identity, and inspire action. An example to think of is St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Or if you’re an animal lover, think of the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Either way, when a speaker uses pathos, the success of persuasion is to appeal to their emotions. How do you think Shakespeare was so successful in his playwrights? Each time he persuaded his audience to come back through emotion. When your audience begins to feel, the chances of them coming back, or even being persuaded is increased.
My advice: Know who your audience is. Get personal with them. What will pull their heartstrings? Place yourself in their shoes.
Logos: Logical Appeal
Logos is the appeal towards logical reason. The speaker wants to present an argument that appears to be sound to the audience. It encompasses the content and arguments of the speech. Logos examples in advertisement include the citation of statistics, facts, data, charts, and graphs. Statistics, surveys, facts, and historical data can make a product seem like a more reasonable decision. In essence, do your research.
Logos is particularly important when trying to persuade people who know a lot about the topic you’re addressing. Logos is also important because it can help build ethos. Porter uses another great example that demonstrates Logos: ” Consider the local theater actor who is about to speak on the craft of acting. There is no ethos present if the audience knows nothing about the actor. It’s necessary for the actor to build ethos before the audience sees them as credible, trustworthy, and authoritative. How does the actor build ethos? The actor could share experiences of their acting career, namedrop famous actors they’ve worked with, or show photos of them on stage,” (2014).
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are all vital elements to persuasion. The three forms are the foundational prowess that creates and innovate marketing to what it is now.
In this blog post, I discussed the ins and outs of the three forms of persuasion, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. To be unstoppable in the working industry, knowledge of the three forms of persuasions is recommended. Absorbing this knowledge will not only help you in the future working industry but also help you understand the five levels of rhetoric. For more information on the five levels of rhetoric, click here.
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