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The 3 key principles of persuasion. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Communication skills.

Do you want people to remember and to take action on what you propose? Is your preparation before a presentation limited to perfecting your slides? Read on!

It’s now more than 2300 years ago that Aristotle formulated his principles of persuasion – and they still hold today. According to his powerful guidelines, any effective communication needs to contain Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. What does that mean in practice?

ETHOS – Why should anyone listen to you?

Ethos is about your credibility and integrity as a speaker. What experience and knowledge do you have of the subject? What is your motive for bringing it to our attention? While credibility may be established through an impressive speaker’s bio, it can quickly be ruined by a lame presence. A confident body language, enthusiasm and passion, and a wellmodulated voice are crucial components in convincing others.

PATHOS – How will you engage your audience emotionally?

Pathos relates to the emotional effect on the audience – of your topic and of you as a speaker. How would you like people to feel as a result of your presentation? Excited, worried, provoked, encouraged…?  Think about how you can best embody and express that emotion yourself. Try to understand the perspective and concerns of the audience and address those through stories and anecdotes. Most importantly, connect physically with your audience through eye contact, an energized voice, and moving towards them.

LOGOS – How strong and relevant is your content?

Of course. If your message lacks substance, why communicate it? However, what is relevant and crystal-clear to you may seem pure nonsense to others. Make sure that your content is adapted to the context and the level of familiarity of your audience. Check that it’s structured in a logical way and that your arguments are cohesive. Wherever possible, simplify to make the message clear and memorable.

For your next presentation, spend some extra preparation time to make sure it has both logical, emotional, and ethical appeal. You will be rewarded!