Many of you reading have seen Sean Patrick’s name before because he’s written several posts for my Influencers from Around the World series. I asked Sean to write another post to generate interest because he’s in America this week. He's visiting Columbus, to attend the Principles of Persuasion workshop I’m leading.
If you’d like to meet Sean, stop by The Pub at Polaris at 6 p.m. on Friday October 8. In the meantime get to know a little about him by visiting his website, Sean Patrick Training, blog, Professional Persuader or just look him up on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”
Persuasion is defined by many as the ability to move a person or a group from one level of thought or abstraction to a level the person performing the persuasion wants to move them to. Aristotle, often regarded as the founding father of persuasion, devised a simple equation of how persuasion can be both defined and performed with the outcome of moving a person or a group from point A to point B.
The process of persuasion, according to Aristotle, needed three elements in order for the movement of abstraction to happen. When these three elements are blended together, this then represents a potent mix of persuasive behavior. And what are the three elements?
Pathos – Emotional appeal
Ethos – Ethical, character and reputation
Logos – Logical
Pathos relates purely to the emotions felt by the audience. As Aristotle put it, persuasion may come through the hearers when the speech stirs their emotions. In other words it is essential to appeal to the emotions felt by your listeners in order to be persuasive. You need EMPATHY.
Ethos related to the speaker and his or her character as revealed through the communication. For the message to be believable there has to be a source of credibility which is something that exists in the minds of the listeners. So it’s the trustworthiness that the speaker has in the eyes of the audience. It relates to the person and refers to the sincerity that exudes from the individual.
Logos refers to the actual words used by the speaker. Choice of words and use of stories, quotations and facts are important in moving the audiences over to your point of view.
I think it’s a great idea to take a look at ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world. Do we use all three of these elements? Notice how other people present and broadcast their thoughts and ideas. More importantly look for those around you who use all three of these elements and model their behavior. Look at these people as a benchmark for your own communication style. It’ll be worth the effort.
When we look around today, pathos and logos mean nothing when a politician speaks. For example, do we believe the politicians when they tell us that our young men and women need to leave for some distant shore and potentially give up their lives for the good of the country? How about when tax increases are said to be necessary because the banks need more liquidity? Conversely this same rule applies to every other aspect of our lives and notably our personal relationships.
Aristotle’s pathos defines empathy toward the people we share our lives with either directly or indirectly. Showing empathy is a way of providing proof that we both “understand and know how it feels.” And showing this ability to perceive the true feelings of other people that you deal with is at the heart of every successful relationship.
Empathy is the ability to identify and understand the other person’s feelings, ideas and situation. It’s listening with your heart as well as your head; i.e., the ability to read emotions in others. Many people who train in the art of persuasion today, or even people who are professional persuaders prefer to use the term “connection” where empathy is concerned. Empathy is based largely on trust and before this can happen we move to ethos – source credibility or proving sincerity towards an individual or group.
This is essential if any form of persuasion is going to take place in today’s world where people have become increasingly suspicious and have developed a hardened sense of skepticism towards advertising and politics specifically. Sincerity is what allows us to attain a level of trust between people and without this process every other element in Aristotle’s model of persuasion is nullified.
Some people will emit trustworthiness more easily than others and this has been validated by the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, as illustrated in his persuasion principle known as “Commitment and Consistency.” This is where we grow accustomed to a person because his/her actions are consistent with how we expect him/her to perform, which in turn allows us to trust this person and grow to like them. In essence the more supportive you are, the more a person will allow their true inner feelings, thoughts, desires and fears to surface. And this is a two-way street;the more we are deemed to be trustworthy towards another person the deeper and more personal will be the feelings, thoughts and desires that the person shares with you.
In NLP this is known as “going there first,” specifically within a therapeutic sense, whereby the practitioner will demonstrate empathy and sincerity by going into a genuine state so the client can then follow along and open up to a much deeper level. This same principle applies to every aspect of our lives; it is how we are wired as humans.
These core qualities have recently been highlighted as being “emotionally intelligent.” Having empathy and sincerity are the two things alone which will make you stand out as a persuasion artist even more so than brushing up on technique or presentation of your communication style. If you cannot get to the core of this principle nothing else will ever work. Our interpersonal skill is our ability to understand and act out with other people how they feel, their likes and dislikes and their motivations. The person with this ability can almost predict how others will act and is therefore able to interact with them effectively and be very persuasive. When we look around us we notice how politicians, sales people, hypnotherapists and people who outwardly social animals have this innate sense of developed intelligence.
Again, if you'd like to meet Sean stop by and see us Friday evening at The Pub at Polaris. Until then, cheers!
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”