Remember those days back in school where we had storytelling competitions?
You had to stand in front of everyone on the stage, and tell that “Hare and Tortoise” story with those props – a rabbit stuffed doll and a tortoise figure.
Oh how we hated the sickening butterflies fluttering in our stomach. No one said there was going to be so many people in the audience. How we practiced and rehearsed until Mommy too remembers the whole story.
Little did we know that that story telling competition is one of the most crucial skills we need to learn to be a grown up. Here are three reasons why.
And not just own it, but to communicate it well enough to bring those ideas to life.
Persuading others of your notions can be tough.
A lot of people have ideas, but find difficulty to explain, and convincing others. Finally, what may be bright proposals, get ignored, and eventually dismissed. This is a waste of potential, and can dull motivation.
Let’s take a look at an old persuasion secret from the famous philosopher, Aristotle.
Aristotle said there are 3 tested and proven modes to persuade an idea.
This means credibility, trust.
In many occasions, people tend to trust something they already know the value of. Typical examples are the power of brand.
Just by the name of BMW, one can imagine the sheer driving pleasure. BMW is a brand well known for the ultimate driving experience. For a business person, driving a BMW may lend an impression of others that their business is good, which indicates investing with them, or purchasing something from them, may be secure. This is an example of persuasion with ethos.
To use ethos at work, we often see names of experts being quoted to strengthen the case. Here, people’s trust to the expert’s judgement is used to convince that our ideas are strong.
Or, the person himself, has a certain charisma, authority, or credibility that people look up to. Perhaps because of his past experience, or knowledge, or skills, or even integrity. With this advantage, whatever he says seem intelligent, and the audience is convinced easily. This is an example of ethos of oneself.
The next time you have a proposal to share, think how you can relate with something, or someone people trust. Or better, build your own credibility by strengthening your value, and one day, you’ll find anything you say is easily persuasive.
This is the persuasion mode using logic.
It means, to convince people, using facts, numbers, data.
Take below for an example.
You should take your medicine daily to avoid stroke.
If you skip your medicines, there is 80% likelihood that you will get a stroke and from there, 60% chances of losing your mobility.
This example shows how numbers can strengthen your argument and make your reasoning more persuasive.
At work, we use numbers you validate proposals, especially when it comes to money. No one wants to lose money, so the next time you have a proposal, convert the impact of your ideas into cash – you’ll have higher chances of getting people’s attention.
The last but surely not least mode of persuasion is, emotion.
Most of the time, playing people’s emotions can give them a strong reason to care, and is the stronger mode of persuasion.
Children are natural at persuading with emotions. They cry and make you feel guilty for not buying them that toy the other kids have. They smile ever-so-sweetly when they want that ice cream they love.
At work, sometimes, when ethos and logos don’t seem to work, it is advisable to take out that pathos secret weapon. Hit that person at their most endearing spot, their concerns. If the Production department would not allow downtime for Engineering to perform a certain recipe change, point out the risk of not doing it, towards major machine breakdown and emphasize that it is their own decision and risk to bear by not approving the activity.
Yes, it sounds like blackmail, but it works.
Emotion can be many – happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, pity, respect.
Find a way to use maneuver these emotions of the audience in order to make your mark.
A word of caution – too frequent use of ethos may indicate that you are unprofessional, and have no other strengths, so only use it when necessary.
Commercials are easy practice to distinguish which of the three modes are being used to convince the audience. Some times you may even see all three modes in one advertisement. Watch how persuasion is being carried out in advertisements and practice it in real life. You’ll see how much more persuasive you can be.
This video is a well known example of all three modes being applied. Look for when is ethos, logos and pathos come in, and prepare to be mesmerized. Enjoy!
Recently we had a project presentation competition. The engineers compiled their kaizen activities and delivered their results in a 15-minute presentation.
One thing presenters often forget is that the presentation is never about them. It is about the audience (what’s in it for me?). As presenters, you want to share an idea for a reason, often to convince them about something.