The Science of Persuasion and Pathos – IWTYTS

I’m excited now to uncover with you Aristotle’s second pillar of persuasion. His concepts can be seen throughout histories most influential orators. On demand they would allow their audiences to feel specific emotions at very specific times.

With pathos, you can too.

It’s not enough for a speaker to simply rely on Ethos or credibility because there will come a time when either you will not be a credible source on a topic or your audience isn’t that impressed or persuaded by ethos. You’ll need to dig deeper into your tool belt as an influencer and remember how essential emotion plays in your ability to persuade.

While ethos translated into credibility, pathos means experience.

The job of the speaker is to create an experience for the audience by appealing to the emotions that exist within them. By drawing out these emotions the speaker keeps the audience feeling engaged and interested. It’s important to recognize that emotion doesn’t need to only mean sadness, anger and fear but should also include joy, excitement, and a myriad of other feelings.

It’s our responsibility as communicators to choose which emotions are appropriate at any given time, and learn how to evoke these emotions. Typically, the best way to give the audience a memorable experience is to evoke contrasting emotions throughout the speech, almost like a smooth roller coaster of ups and downs.

Rollercoaster image

With high pathos, your audience is more likely to feel connected to you, trust you, be persuaded by your message, and follow through with your calls to action.

Let’s talk the how:

Stories

This includes personal stories as well as simple anecdotes or even stories of others. For example, if I’m talking about mental health awareness I could say something like, “asking for help for the first time can be hard – I remember sitting down with my dad with a scar I cut into my own arm nervous and unsure about what I was going to say…”

Painting the picture of sitting down with my dad with the scar on my arm, feeling nervous and uncertainty, draws your audience into your memory. This is often the quickest way to establish emotional connection with the audience and is likely going to be one of the most memorable moments of the presentation.

Pro Tip – Lead by example. Mirror the emotions you would like your audience to feel. Believe it or not – it works! If you are describing a wonderful moment, for example, amplify and show the joy in your face, voice, and posture. On a subconscious level the audience will see the way you are speaking and use that as a cue for the emotions they should experience.

So avoid the mistake of 90% of speakers who tell as sad story with a smile on their face or share their vision with a monotone voice. Ensure that your non-verbal communication reflects the emotions you want your audience to experience, it will magnify the impact.

Analogies and Metaphors

These comparisons allow you to build on the understanding and emotions an audience already feels for something. For example if you speak about gang violence, you might

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 5.40.52 PM.png
Iain Gabriel in Action

plainly state that, “We have a problem in our city…” On the other hand, you might say, “we have a cancer in our city…” The latter analogy draws on your audience’s pre-existing feelings about cancer, and makes them want to move or take action towards a solution.

I’ll bring my good friend Iain Gabriel onto a future video for you to learn first hand from a masters of taking advantage of metaphors and analogies.

Humour

Humour typically involves story telling and often allows the audience to connect to you on more of a friendship level. The audience laughing and having a good time also allows them to stay attentive and engaged with the content.

Disconnected audience are not easily persuaded.

Do This.

As you go out and try tell better stories, use more vivid language and analogies, make your audiences laugh and lead by example. As a final tip, Aristotle intended for us to associating positive emotions with our main calls to action (whatever your cause or takeaway) and more negative emotions surrounding the issues we seek to address.

You, like histories most influential orators, are now armed to go on stage and into your everyday life to use pathos, to use emotion to elicit your desired response in every interaction. Whether that be action towards your cause, buying your product or just simply living a better life.

My question to you is, what are you going to do with it?

Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”

Jonathan Andrews

Out.

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