Aristotle the Influencer

published on 11 January 2021

If your goal is to convince your audience to take action, then you have to present a compelling argument. In Rhetoric, Aristotle discusses 3 types of persuasion. 2000 years later, these categories are still helpful in understanding persuasive communication.

Logos = Logic

A message that attempts to convince the audience with facts, figures, and reasoning. This is a difficult strategy to pull off. People have a tendency to block out information that doesn't fit their worldview. This is especially difficult in today's BYOF (bring-your-own-facts) media landscape.

Ethos = Authority, credentials, credibility

There's a right and wrong way to use this one. The wrong way is the "LinkedIn Flex" method. This is where you brag about how great you are and all the awesome things you've accomplished. The right way to use the Ethos strategy is the social proof method. That is where you show the value added, and back that up with external validation.

Pathos = Emotion

Aristotle discusses evoking sympathy or provoking anger to get the intended response. An emotional appeal is most effective if the goal is to motivate action.

Worth noting

Knowing where and when to use different persuasive techniques is important. Consider the following:

▪️ How well do you know your audience? How well do they know you? ▪️ How much new information does your message convey? ▪️ Is your message controversial, or contrary to your audiences existing viewpoint?

The “Fortune Cookie”

Think less about what you want to say, and more about how your audience will hear your message.

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