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Pillars of a Persuasive Speech

Want to persuade someone? Here are the 3 pillars of a persuasive speech.

Public speaking in a persuasive manner is a crucial skill that everyone should master. It has various practical applications, ranging from delivering a sales pitch to giving an influential talk. Understanding how to deliver a persuasive speech is essential, and luckily, Aristotle identified three key components. Let’s explore them further.

Ethos (Ethical Appeal):

Establishing credibility and reliability right from the start is crucial in persuasive speeches. Otherwise, your audience may not pay attention or question your authority. They might wonder, “Who is this person?” “Why is he speaking to us?” or “Should I listen to him?” Ethos ensures that the audience recognizes the speaker’s expertise.

There are four characteristics of ethos: trust and respect, similarity, authority, and expertise and reputation.

  1. Trust and Respect:
    To be considered trustworthy, the audience needs to see you as an honest individual. They may question your principles, sincerity, and ethical values. By providing this information, the audience can form a judgment.
  2. Similarity:
    People are more likely to be persuaded by someone they can relate to. Factors like age, race, career, culture, and others contribute to establishing a sense of similarity.
  3. Authority:
    If the audience perceives you as an expert in the subject matter, they are more inclined to listen. Are you an experienced advertising practitioner? A respected priest? The president of an organization? Demonstrating authority enhances your persuasive power.
  4. Expertise and Reputation:
    Supporting your speech with achievements and years of experience adds credibility. During introductions, keynote speakers often have their accomplishments highlighted, building their reputation in the process.

Logos (Logical Appeal):

Logos involves using logical reasoning to justify your arguments. It relies on facts and evidence to enhance your credibility. To ensure you incorporate logos effectively in your persuasive speech, consider these three aspects:

  1. Comprehensive:
    Ensure your audience can easily comprehend your thoughts. If your ideas are scattered and confusing, you won’t be an effective speaker. Avoid using jargon that only a few would understand.
  2. Logical:
    Do your arguments make sense? During a persuasive speech, individuals may have opposing ideas. Your role is to persuade them to agree with your viewpoint. If your ideas lack feasibility, your audience will likely dismiss them.
  3. Specific:
    Concrete and specific ideas are often easier to understand. Backing your claims with research data, historical examples, and other specific references enhances the clarity of your message.

Pathos (Emotional Appeal):

Some speeches effectively leverage the audience’s emotions to convey messages. As a speaker, you want your audience to share the emotional connection you have with your topic. Consider these three methods to emotionally appeal to your audience:

  1. Use visual aids:
    Images and videos can have a powerful impact as they provide a tangible element for the audience to engage with. Visuals, such as photos of injured animals or videos of natural disasters, can evoke strong emotional responses.
  2. Storytelling:
    By allowing the audience to use their imagination, storytelling creates a unique impact. Each individual interprets the narrative differently, resulting in an emotional response triggered by your words.
  3. Establish a personal connection:
    Find common ground with your audience. Discuss topics like family, pets, or career goals that resonate with them. When you establish relatability, the audience is more likely to pay attention.

By incorporating these three pillars of persuasion into your next speech, you can become an effective and compelling speaker. To further enhance your skills, you can contact Speech Ionizers, a speech coaching service, at

The 3 pillars of a Persuasive Speech

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