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The Five Dimensions Of Persuasion

April 22, 2013 fm

In the past I talked a lot about Aristotle’s three pillars of rhetoric. Logos, Ethos, Pathos – your arguments, your credibility as a speaker, your emotional appeal to the audience. Been there, done that.

In this post I want to draw your attention to two more dimensions. Two dimensions, which, for me, also have a great impact on your power to persuade people and move them to action.

Logos, the first pillar, is exclusively content-driven. Ethos and Pathos, on the contrary, have two dimensions – a content AND a delivery side.

Ethos – Delivery

Your poise as a speaker, the self-confidence you exude, the conviction you transmit – these are first-class credibility boosters for you as a speaker. Strong eye-contact, expressive gestures and body language, and ample vocal variety drive your authority.

Pathos – Delivery

On the content side you can appeal to the emotions of your audience by telling stories. Storytelling, especially when you talk about your own experiences, is a great way to build bridges of sympathy with your audience.

Yet, many speakers fail on the delivery side of Pathos. Or, expressed in a more constructive way, they could gain much more impact if they respected the Triangle of Coherence. According to the Triangle of Coherence the body language you use, the voice you project and the content you share must be in a state of balance. >> read more.

When we read about the three pillars of rhetoric we hear a lot about content. Be aware that there are two more dimensions on the delivery side. Practice them, ask for feedback, practice more – your persuasive power will increase. That’s a promise.

Comments (6)

  1. Om

    Great post and graphic display, but I disagree on the fact that the Logos pillar does not have a delivery variable to it. The best speakers know how to distill the most important information and relay it progressively, to ensure the content takeaway for the audience is higher than the average 20%. The more you know how to select what key insights are (of all the possible data and facts you can communicate), and how to deliver them in a logical, progressive, relevant, intelligible and interesting manner, the more successful your logos pillar will be. This is crucial in some environments where ethos and especially pathos need to be minimized (think of scientific presentations, for instance), as they make you loose credibility and respect from a rather fact-oriented, highly analytical audience.

    • Great feedback, thank you so much. I agree that e.g. Hans Rosling is a great example of how to create more impact through the way he presents his data. Yet, if we stick to the logic behind L/E/P, logos is the proof, the arguments – it’s very content-driven. What serves the purpose best will, of course, always be the best path to take – whatever names you give it. Yet, I want to focus on the necessity of delivering well where credibility and emotional appeal are concerned.

      • Danny Choriki

        I hear the point you are making about logos being content driven and the importance of delivery style to ethos and pathos. Still I have to agree with Om that there is a delivery aspect to logos. Presenting a written brochure to someone who can not read is a fail.

        Logos must be understood for it to persuade. So the delivery method matters.

  2. I would like permission to use highlights and graphics from this blog in a presentation I am giving. (With full and proper credit of course) Whom should I ask?

  3. David aka Chum Loud

    Great man helps me out on my stage performance and how to grasp attention

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