Credibility, emotion and logical reasoning. The Aristotle ModelJan 16, 2024
Effective communication is crucial to your success. Whether you are presenting to a large audience, leading a team meeting, or navigating a crisis, the way you communicate greatly influences how your message is received.
One powerful framework that I have worked with for many years is Aristotle’s model based on three key principles: Ethos (credibility), Pathos (emotions) and Logos (logical reasoning). I rarely apply equal weighting to the principles, as the goal of my communication often determines which of the principles are more important. This is not delivered in a cynical, manipulative manner, more around how I want to authentically influence my communication.
The Aristotle model and how it can be applied is worth taking the time to explore and understand how you can engage, inspire, and influence others.
Establishing Credibility (Ethos):
At the core of effective leadership communication is establishing credibility. As a manager and leader, your audience looks to us for guidance and where applicable expertise. To establish credibility, you should:
• Decide on best course of delivery; ‘lead from the back, side or front’.
• Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the subject matter.
• Share personal stories and experiences that showcase your understanding and insights.
• Emphasise your commitment to your responsible values; social (people), environment (planet) and economics (profit).
Connecting Emotionally (Pathos):
Emotional connection plays a vital role in engaging and inspiring others. As a leader and manager, you can leverage emotional appeal to create a deeper connection with your audience:
• Understand the emotions and concerns of our audience.
• Use stories and anecdotes that evoke emotions and resonate with their experiences.
• Show empathy and understanding towards their challenges and aspirations.
Employing Logical Reasoning (Logos):
While emotions are important, there is a real requirement to apply logical reasoning to support your arguments and proposals. To effectively use logos, you should:
• Present data, facts, and evidence to support your claims.
• Use logical frameworks to structure your arguments and make them more persuasive.
• Clearly communicate the benefits and rationale behind your decisions and proposals.
• Be clear on what is an assumption and what is a fact.
The Aristotle model is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There is a real requirement to adapt our communication style based on the situation and audience:
- Consider the context, objectives, and preferences of our audience.
- Use language and examples that are relevant and relatable to their experiences.
- Adjust the balance between ethos, pathos, and logos based on the desired outcome and the emotions of the situation.
Mastering the Aristotle model can empower you to become a more influential and effective communicator. By establishing credibility (ethos), connecting emotionally (pathos), and employing logical reasoning (logos), you can engage, inspire, and influence your audience. Remember to tailor your communication style to the situation and audience, and always strive for authenticity and integrity in your communication.
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