Lessons from History

Greece has the distinction to produce the best philosophers in the history of mankind whose teachings are revered.  Beginning with Socrates, his pupil Plato followed by Aristotle pupil  of Plato.   Aristotle’s teachings of Logos, Ethos and Pathos are considered a pillar of Persuasion.  Aristotle considered Logos to be the paramount ingredient but emphasized all three to be important for leaders to make an impression. What did Ethos, Pathos and Logos principle of persuasion reflect?

Ethos (Credibility): You persuade by being Fair, Knowledgeable, Trustworthy, Authority and considerate.  We tend to believe people whom we respect and consider authority such as Doctors, Judges and someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as an authority on the subject as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.

Pathos (Emotional): You persuade by appealing to the audience emotions. The persuader creates an environment wherein audience feels the same as the persuader. Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument and persuade your audience.

Logos (Logical): You persuade by being thoughtful, providing good reasoning, facts and evidence.  This is an academic appeal. This was Aristotle’s favorite because he believed that giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough.

Hence, learning, practicing and mastering the three principals can increase your effectiveness.  And if Aristotle appeared in the in the 20th century how would he have categorized the 20th century leaders?  Probably his observations would reflect…

Winston Churchill to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

Nelson Mandela to be a high Ethos followed by pathos and Logos.

Mahatma Gandhi to be a high Ethos followed by Pathos and Logos.

King Martin Luther to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

President Kennedy to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

Aristotle’s  three  principals of persuasion are corroborated  by numerous bestselling authors, teachers and so do the 20th century research in the field of persuasion.  And every effort reflects in unison that the road map to successful persuasion is not a mystery but a History made 2600 years ago by Aristotle.

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