Impromptu Speaking Tactics
Measuring the success of a presentation
Great speakers are built on the skills and experience of those that come before them. The techniques, tactics, successes and failures of speakers throughout history all serve as lessons to us on how to speak successfully.
The concept of ethos, pathos and logos within public speaking is one fantastic piece of public speaking learning that was discovered over 2,000 years ago in Ancient Greece by a man named Aristotle. It was the secret to all successful persuasive speeches and it is still as useful today as it was when Aristotle first discovered it.
Who was Aristotle?
A quick history lesson; Aristotle was (and is) one of the world’s most famous ancient philosophers. He had a curious mind and during his lifetime studied, explored and wrote about a wide range of subjects. Often making links between subjects and provoking thoughts and actions that changed society (and history!). You can find out more about Aristotle here.
Aristotle was obviously a very wise and clever man. Not least, because during one period of his life, he spent his days in the pubs and taverns of Ancient Greece watching the influential, inspiring and motivating speakers of the day (this sounds like a fantastic way to pass the time!). it was here that he discovered ethos, pathos and logos.
Aristotle was keen to understand what factors combined to make a successful persuasive speaker. Whilst he was observing all of those speeches, he soon realised that every single one of them that was successful had three common themes: ethos, pathos and logos.
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What are ethos, pathos and logos?
Roughly translated, ethos is your expertise, your credentials or your perceived authority to speak on this topic. Pathos is your human or relatable side. It is you showing your audience that you are just like them. After all, we all like to like people that are similar to us. Show an audience your empathetic or human side and you have already found common ground through your humanity.
Finally, put simply, logos is the logical structure of your argument.
How can we use ethos, pathos and logos in our speeches or presentations?
If you want to add some ethos to your presentation or speech, then be ready to show your credentials to your audience. You could just place your qualifications up there on a slide or, better still, tell a story or give an example of why you are qualified to speak on this topic. Showing your credentials in a story or example format is always more effective than just telling.
Always aim to demonstrate pathos and to show the audience how you are just like them through your stories, humour and speech. If you are unsure how to do this, then prior to your presentation, map out the interests, skills and areas that you share in common with your audience. How can you highlight them during your presentation through your content, your language, your dress, your humour?
Logos. Always ensure that your presentation follows a logical flow or structure. Map out the journey through your speech for your audience using a verbal or written agenda, or section headings. To help your audience follow your argument, signpost to them where we are in the presentation (“We are now moving on to talk about…” or “That brings us to the third point that I will cover today…”).
Do ethos, pathos and logos still apply to speeches today?
Cast your mind back to some of the most inspiring or persuasive speakers that you have witnessed recently. Can you pick out the examples of ethos, pathos and logos in each speech? You might even find that if you are thinking of a particularly well-known or famous speaker, that they have built up their ethos and pathos (in the eyes of the audience) over time, during their many past speeches.
Ethos, pathos and logos is not an exact science, it's more of a Venn diagram of the three things that combine to create a successful speech. Where they come together and overlap, that is the point where you will find the perfect, successful speech.
So if you want to become a successful persuasive speaker too, then the question to remember when crafting your next script is: ‘How do I show my ethos, pathos and logos to my audience?’
Aristotle, ethos, pathos and logos is included within our ‘Speaking to persuade’ public speaking training course alongside lessons, tips and techniques from many of the greatest speakers in history. Find out more about the Speaking to Persuade public speaking training course here.
This information is also a video!
This is such an important public speaking topic that we decided to make it into a video too. Click the video to watch this post delivered by Rich Watts, public speaking expert and 2x national public speaking champion.
There are a whole host of public speaking tips videos available on the Rich Public Speaking Youtube channel here.