Many don’t realize that the craft of public speaking includes a long and rich history, dating back to the ancient Greeks. In those days, there was no legal profession, and citizens were expected to speak for themselves in disputes as well as participate actively through spoken word to shape laws and public policy. Aristotle, known as the founding father of public speaking, wrote an immense body of work called Rhetoric. Aristotle also lay the foundation for aspects of public speaking that we still use today. The three foundational components Aristotle called “persuasive proofs” that are relevant in all public speaking are ethos, logos, and pathos.
Ethos includes a speaker’s credibility. Your credibility is essentially your reputation, and it can change during your presentation. Your credibility is fluid with your listeners – if you are not well known to your audience, you can raise your credibility with how you deliver your presentation. If your perceived credibility is high among your audience members and you are not well prepared with your presentation, you can lose credibility with your listeners.
Logos refers to logic and how well you support your case. Audiences want an intellectual connection with a speaker, and a good speaker will provide evidence, facts and statistics to support the points he or she makes.
An effective speaker uses also pathos, an appeal to the emotions of the audience. Tapping in to an audience’s values and beliefs allow a speaker to connect with an audience. Using stories is one of the best ways to connect emotionally with an audience.
In thinking about your next presentation, have you considered these foundational components? I will be exploring each these pillars of presentation speaking in upcoming newsletters.