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persuasion through credibility

“Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.” – Aristotle

This ancient Greek guy was on to something. The three modes of persuasion came to be known as ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos = the credibility of the speaker.

Pathos = creating empathy with the audience.

Logos = facts, evidence, and logic.

Whether preaching or giving a business presentation, the credibility (or believability) of the speaker is important. The audience must believe you are trustworthy. If they believe you know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to listen. If not, you’re in trouble.

This is even more important when you’re speaking to the same audience on a regular basis. When you’re a guest, there is a certain amount of credibility assumed and granted. When you live and work among them, they will be as influenced by talking to you in the hallway as listening to you from the stage.

Without credibility, cute and clever phrases fall on deaf ears.

Even the truest facts face an uphill battle when presented without credibility.

The key to connecting with your audience doesn’t lie in learning a technique. It requires growing your character, which builds your credibility.

As Nelson Mandela said, ““Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”