Opinion: Understanding influence

by Robert Ballantyne14 May 2015

During his life, Aristotle wrote his Rhetoric, better known today as The Art of Persuasion.
The premise was simple: evidence for claims comes in three forms – Logos, Pathos and Ethos.

·         Logos - logical or rational appeal. The claim simply has to make sense.
·         Pathos - emotional appeal. The claim has to touch the heart of the audience. We have to feel moved in some way.
·         Ethos - ethical appeal. Aristotle explained Ethos as the need for the claim to be grounded in credibility. This refers to the authority, reliability and trustworthiness of the person making the claim.

Each time you’re influenced by someone, it's because they’ve delivered their message to encompass all three forms of evidence in a way that resonates with you.

One of the first steps to increasing your influence is to develop an understanding of the balance between Logos, Pathos and Ethos.

When we think of these three aspects of persuasion, the dynamics of influence becomes clear. We need a balance of all three in our message.

To be influential you have to understand the priorities of those you.

Understanding their priorities helps you frame your message so that it makes sense to them and touches their heart. You tap into their logic to help them identify with the reason behind the idea, and their emotions to buy into the need for the potential outcome.

On top of logic and emotion, Aristotle knew credibility was vital, allowing opinions to be viewed as of value.

No doubt you’ve seen good ideas disregarded simply because the person delivering that idea was not respected, trusted or valued.

Safeguard your credibility. It takes years to build and seconds to lose. Maintain it every day.

So when you’re hoping to influence those around you, remember Aristotle.

Think about Logos (Logic), Pathos (Emotion) and Ethos (Credibility), and frame your message so that the audience can hear it in a way that harnesses their priorities, strengthens their confidence, and has meaning for them.
 
Darren Stevenson – founder and MD of Extend Before and After School Care – has 25 years of experience as an educator in Australia and the UK, having served in five schools.
 

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