Imagine Understanding The Simple Art Of Persuasion: 3 Skills Ancient Rhetoric Can Teach Us

Often we hear about a new school of thought from the world of presentation skills or public speaking. Experts in the art of persuasion seem to regularly unearth new and innovative ways of doing things that we’ve never heard of before. However these ‘new’ ways of thinking can often take the core of their teaching from innovators that have come before. Long before!

The art of persuasion

 

 

Throughout history speakers have employed a variety of basic skills when addressing the structure and effectiveness of their communications.  Great orators like Cicero, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Hitler.  They all had similar characteristics and structures when crafting their messages.  

So, what are these similar characteristics?

 

Thousands of years ago, the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle identified these three areas of rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, as ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS.  Famous and effective communicators have used these elements of rhetoric time and time again to persuade and win over their audiences.

 

Aristotle defined rhetoric as “…the faculty of discovering, in any particular case, all of the available means of persuasion.”  He believed that you need all the means of persuasion to get people to trust you and advocated using all three of his main elements of rhetoric to do the job.

 

1. ETHOS or ‘Argument By Character’

Ethos uses the speaker’s personality, reputation, and ability to look trustworthy in order to persuade.  It embodies goodwill, sincerity, credibility, commonality, and praise.  ETHOS is used in advertisements all the time to establish credibility.  For example, a car company stating that they’ve won safety awards for their cars.  This shows overall virtue of the speaker and good will towards the audience.  John F. Kennedy uses this to great effect in his inaugural speech in 1961.

 

2. PATHOS or ‘Argument By Emotion’

Pathos is the appeal to an audience’s sense of identity, self-interest, or sentiments.  This involves contrast, energeia (vivid experience, making someone feel in the moment, feel what you feel), and emotion control.  A great example of PATHOS is Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream…’ speech where he appeals to morals and human qualities common to us all. Humour can also be an effective form of persuasion here.  It calms people down and creates common ground with an audience on an intuitive level.

 

3.LOGOS or ‘Argument By Logic’

Logos persuades by making a reasonable claim and offering proof in support of that claim.  Here we use the power of story, framing ideas, and proof.  Concession can be an important tool of LOGOS as you use your opponent’s argument to your own advantage; by conceding the validity of your opponent’s argument, you show you are listening and seeing their side.

 

One of the most poignant examples of using all three of these disciplines for persuasion is in children’s television’s Fred Rogers’ (Mister Rogers) appeal to the U.S. senate committee. In an attempt to save PBS’ 20 million dollar annual funding when it was in danger of being slashed in half in 1969.  Mr Rogers faced one of the toughest most cynical senators on the committee and won.

 

 

Scottish philosopher David Hume recognised that you can never change someone’s mind in an argument with just reasoning and logic.  In his view, we are animals primarily motivated and influenced by our intuitions and emotions.  The majority of our convictions don’t actually come from facts.  

 

Human reasoning is a servant to intuition

Arguments  – Dance Not War

In Western culture we often treat or frame arguments like fights or like war.  We attack our opponent’s positions and defend our own.  We gain and lose ground.  

George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, suggests that a more appropriate and conducive analogy is that of a dance.  In this metaphor, we reach out to a person, we are opposites but we work together, we are cooperating.  The argument becomes more about agreement than disagreement.  

 

We don’t enter into an argument with someone unless we have some common interest with them to begin with. Instead of a war between good and evil, we can begin to think about rhetoric and persuasion as a dance between mutually interested groups.  

When we fight, it is about winning.  When we argue, it’s about winning over.  “A fight never persuades, it only inspires revenge or retreat.  An argument gets people to do what you want – it’s a means to a solution.” ( Jay Heinrichs, Thank You For Arguing)

 

Next time you craft a presentation, keep in mind the three areas of persuasion

 

ETHOS, PATHOS, AND LOGOS are passed down to us from the ancients and used by our greatest orators.  Look to win over, not just win.  Dance, don’t fight.  It just might give you the edge in winning over your audience.

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private voice, executive presence and presenting programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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breathing and how to speak with power

How to Use Breathing to Speak with Power and Confidence

We’ve been talking about the link between breathing and the ability to speak with power and confidence since the very first day we started ConfidentSpeak. A recent article from Harvard Business Review backs up everything we’ve been saying.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

breathing and how to speak with powerHere at ConfidentSpeak, we have been teaching breathing techniques as part of our executive and business communications training programmes since when we first began.

It is fundamental to what we do, so we were delighted to read a great article on this topic in The Harvard Business Review.

Some really excellent points in here, including:

1. How the same thing can mean something completely different

send a completely different message just by the way it’s said

2. How performance is performance (whether it’s singing or speaking)

As a former opera singer, I know how much breathing affects how a voice sounds. Singers must use deep breathing in order to project a strong voice across a crowded auditorium to reach every single person in the audience. I never thought that this skill would help me once I left the field of opera — until I had to give my first speech. Then, I realized how much my operatic training made me a powerful public speaker.

3. How Margaret Thatcher sounded before and after voice coaching

4. How often you should breath in order to learn to speak with power

How often should you breathe? At the very least, at the end of every sentence! If you are prone to rushing through your speech or presentation, then practice breathing at every punctuation mark — it will force you to slow down.

5. Why it’s about optimising your voice, not changing it

It’s not about trying to sound like someone else; it’s about giving your voice the richness and fullness it deserves every single time you speak in public, so that the power of your voice matches the power of your words. If you do that, people will listen.

Read the full article

Read the full Harvard Business Review article here

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Read more

We have lots more in-depth articles on the importance of breathing for great public speaking and the ability to speak with power and confidence. Here are just a few.

 

handling questions after presentation

How to Answer a Tricky Question During the Dreaded Presentation Q & A

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s probably fair to say that few people really relish the question time at the end. So when it comes to how to answer a tricky question during the presentation Q & A, what’s the best approach? How should you handle it? There’s really only one proven way.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question

I was flicking around Quora recently, the question and answer website where one often comes across a brilliant question and a series of brilliantly constructed answers.

 

You’re asking for a ‘crafty way to dodge a question’, but that really is one of the stupidest things a person can do. Audiences can see right through it and will lose confidence in your qualification to be speaking to them and they will lose respect for you. DON’T DO IT

Quora.com user Robert Frost

Mr Frost also included a handy flow chart in his answer, based on the relevance of the question and, crucially, whether you know the answer.

So what’s the best course of action when you’re asked a tricky question at the end of a presentation?

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question?

Our opinion for the thorny topic of how to answer a tricky question, too, is that honesty is definitely the best policy.

Audiences can see through the bluff—they will know when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

If you don’t know the answer you should do one or both of the following:

  • Say you don’t know and that you’ll find out, because honesty is always the way forward
  • Open the question to the floor

Click on this link to see the other opinions are on this question!

Click here for several more very fine answers to this question over on the Quora forum

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

fear of presenting

Most People’s Number One Fear is Public Speaking. (Number Two is Death.)

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on external factors.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Jerry Seinfeld, the famous New York comedian, perhaps summed this up best.

He said:

At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on the ‘outside’: How am I coming across?  How do I look?  Do the audience like me?  What’s in it for me? A big part of effective presenting is actually an ‘inside’ job.

Great public speakers care about what they are saying, care about the audience and connecting with them, and remember that we’re all human beings craving a common connection.

Seinfeld even gets a mention in this article by comedian/therapist Jonathan Decker. It’s not all about technique and analytics!  Check it out here…

http://www.suindependent.com/news/id_7755/Your-Friendly-Neighborhood-Therapist:-How-to-be-a-fearless-public-speaker.html

Maria Tecce

maria@confidentspeak.com

 

 

Julian Treasure's TED talk

Four Powerful Words for Powerful Public Speaking from Julian Treasure’s TED Talk

HAIL. The short acronym and four words from Julian Treasure’s TED talk that the inspiring speaker put forward as the four cornerstones of powerful presentation and public speaking.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Julian Treasure's TED talk

The human voice: It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably. It’s the only one that can start a war or say “I love you.” And yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them. And why is that?

Thus begins Julian Treasure’s inspiring “How to speak so that people want to listen” talk for TED.

Treasure elaborates on what he believes are the four “cornerstones” of powerful speaking.

The four words form an acronym for the word HAIL.

The Four Cornerstones from Julian Treasure’s TED talk are:

  • H – Honesty. Being true in what you say, being straight and clear
  • A – Authenticity. Just being yourself, “standing in your own truth”
  • I  – Integrity. Being your word, doing what you say and being somebody people can trust
  • L – Love. If you’re really wishing somebody well, it’s very hard to judge them at the same time.

Later, Treasure adds:

You have an amazing toolbox. This instrument is incredible, and yet this is a toolbox that very few people have ever opened, I’d like to have a little rummage in there with you now and just pull a few tools out that you might like to take away and play with, which will increase the power of your speaking.

Check out Julian Treasure’s TED talk for yourself here … and prepare to be inspired!

 

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

telephone interview

When Opportunity Calls: Six Vital Phone Interview Tips for Your Next Job Opp

The phone interview has become an increasingly common part of most recruitment processes. The environment is so different to the face-to-face meeting, so how should you prepare? Here’s our list of six phone interview tips to ace the first round of your job-hunting journey.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

phone interview tips

We were flicking through Fast Company recently when we happened upon an interesting article.

A piece by Judith Stock explained that employers are opting more and more for phone interviews to screen potential new hires as it allows the company to sort through candidates without committing to the expense and time required for on-site meetings.

In her article Ms Stock refers to a survey conducted by Office Team who polled 515 human resources managers in the US.

And the majority of those, 57%, reported that phone interviews happen “very often.”

With this in mind, here are some handy steps for phone interview preparation…

Phone Interview Tips, 1: Research Still Wins

  • Do a web search to find out everything you need to know about the company.
  • Search online for a photograph of the person who is interviewing you – It’s much easier to talk with someone when you know what they look like.
  • Write out a list of questions you want to ask and points you want to make -“What specific qualities and skills are you looking for in a candidate?” “How do you see this position contributing to the continued success of the organisation?” “I read recently that the company…

Phone Interview Tips, 2: Prepare the Scene

  • The last thing you need during a phone interview are noisy interruptions so make sure you can take the call in an isolated room
  • If possible, use a landline as a mobile phone connection can be less reliable
  • If you don’t have a landline then make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged and that you take the call in a place where the reception is reliable.

Phone Interview Tips, 3: Put on Your Game Face!

  • Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview; you’re more likely to feel and sound professional if you look the part.
  • Remember to smile – You wont sound bored or uninterested if you have a smile on your face.
  • Put a mirror on your desk to see your facial expressions when you talk.
  • It’s all about the voice so swallow a teaspoon of honey before the phone and have a glass of water nearby

Phone Interview Tips, 4: The Invisibility Factor

  • Because you’re unseen and so invisible, you can think of this interview like an “open-book test”. So if you wish you can have all the information you need to know about the company and the person conducting the interview open right in front of you, which is much more difficult to do in a face-to-face environment.

Phone Interview Tips, 5: Nail the 3 C’s:

The Three C’S  are concision, concentration and courtesy.

Concision

As phone interviews are generally shorter than in-person interviews you have less time in which to make a good impression so:

  • Avoid long-winded answers keep your responses to no more than three sentences.
  • The day before the interview, practice asking your questions aloud and rehears your answers to some potential questions that the interviewer might ask you -“What are your strengths?” “Tell me about yourself….”)

Concentration

It’s important to stay focused and take notes during the call. Listen carefully throughout so that your responses are to the point.

Courtesy

Be professional and be polite.

  • At the end of the call you could ask – ‘Do my qualifications meet the company’s needs?’ Then ask when you could meet with them in person
  • However the interview goes, end with a ‘thank you.’
  • Remember the last few words of a conversation are often the most remembered.”

Phone Interview Tips, 6: The Follow-Up

If you want this job you need to restate your interest so about 24 hours after the interview ends, send an email to the interviewer:

  • The subject line should be: “Your name and the position you applied for.”
  • Thank them for the opportunity to speak with the
  • Summarise what you spoke about during the interview.
  • Include a link to an interesting news article about the company that you already found during your preparation research.

Conclusion

There you have it. Follow all these steps and you should be set up to communicate brilliantly in any phone interview, and leave you in a perfect position to step forward to the next stage of the process.

To recap:

  • Research is still vital
  • Get your location ready
  • Put on the game face
  • Make the most of being invisible!
  • Tick off “The Three C’s”
  • Follow up with care and attention

Good luck!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main picture credit: David Paschke on Unsplash

power of silence

Why Silence Can Be One of Your Best Negotiating Tactics

Looking to learn one of the best negotiating tactics? One of the least used, but most effective, strategies when it comes to negotiation and delivering the outcome you desire from any discussion is … silence. Here’s why.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Silence is one of the best negotiating tacticsIt is a very useful to get comfortable with silence when you are negotiating if you want to be successful.

Learn From The Experts

Great negotiators will always use the tactic of making their opponent wait for an answer.

When we are nervous or eager there is a tendency to jump in right after the other person has spoken.

Result? It just looks like we’re nervous or insecure, or even worse, that haven’t been listening.  

A Well-Placed Silence Can Build Relationships

If you wait, it conveys the impression that you are listening and thinking about what the other person has said. (This is proven to build rapport.)

And, of course, it also sends a signal that you are weighing your answer carefully.

Silence Buys You Time

It will give you time to prepare a response. The appearance of thinking, buys a few seconds to think.

The trait of being chatty (in negotiating) is not very powerful, and it usually doesn’t achieve the desired result but the art of creative silence takes practice. Sometimes it takes concentration to simply do nothing. 

So practice getting used to using the silence when you’re not under pressure so that you will be comfortable using it when you need to.

There you go.

Three reasons silence is one of the best negotiating tactics you can learn.

What do you think are great negotiation tactics?

Leave a comment below!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

pace of speaking

Presentation Tips: Why Pace of Delivery Is So Important

Here I discuss the importance of pace in public speaking, and outline one great exercise to allow you to get your pace of delivery just right.

By Olivia MacDonnell, Confident Speak

Why pace of delivery is so important in public speaking

Every day when I’m working with clients on the art of great presence and communication, or studying the world’s greatest communicators and speakers on just what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Pace is one thing that’s so important to great presentation and communication.

I have to admit when I initially talk about the appropriate pace of delivery, people tend to get confused.

So here’s a fun way I found to give you an idea of your pace:

Before we start let’s be clear.

  • Pace is the speed at which we speak.  It can be expressed in Words per Minute (WPM)
  • Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180-200 WPM
  • 200 WPM is way too fast for presenting information
  • So you should aim to speak at no more than 120-150 WPM

Presentation Tips: Pace of Delivery and the Word Per Minute Exercise

Set the timer on your phone and read the following 148 word passage at your natural rate and time yourself!

A good speech is one that is memorable. A good speech is usually not too long. One of the greatest virtues a speaker can possess is brevity. This begs the question: how does one go about constructing and delivering an address to an audience?

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

Firstly, never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.

Secondly, do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.

And thirdly, try not to make too many points.

Finally, remember rehearsal is also extremely important. Many top speakers spend hours practising their delivery and this is time well spent. Paying particular attention to the voice is good advice because if you are not accustomed to speaking in public, then you will need to establish how to project and produce your voice effectively.

So, how did you do?

Remember, this is just a bit of fun.

Your pace will always vary, and will be dictated by your level of engagement and commitment and feeling towards your message.

This 148-word passage should take between 60 and 75 seconds to speak at a presentation pace of 120-150 WPM.

So if your delivery here was outside that recommended band, then it would be a good idea to practise this a couple more times and make the necessary changes. It could be a game-changer in the way you’re speaking to your audience—whether that’s the rest of your team at work, a boardroom of managers or directors, a few potential clients for a pitch presentation or even a packed auditorium.

Good luck!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

 

speech training

Are Elocution Lessons for Adults Back In Vogue? Yes, They Are!

There has been a rise in elocution lessons for adults, according to recent studies

According to a new study by thetutorpages.com website there seems to be a soaring demand for elocution lessons for adults.

The report shows that elocution teachers have received more enquiries than teachers of any other subject in recent years.

Let me share with you the findings—it makes interesting reading.

Reasons given for the rise in interest in elocution lessons for adults

Some quotes from people seeking training

I have a strong accent and often the first impression people have of me when they hear me talk is that I’m thick. I want to improve my elocution and tone down my accent as I think it may hold me back in my career.

 

I am beginning to get tired of the reaction I get when I open my mouth and although proud of my roots I am wondering if I should have some elocution lessons in order that I am taken more seriously.

 

[I’m] looking for promotion but feel that my language skills are holding me back. I am from South East Asia and speak Mandarin and English. I’d like to improve on the clarity and tone of my speech, soften my accent…

What type of people are interested in elocution lessons for adults?

A high proportion of the requests come from professionals looking for a way to improve their career prospects, including

Thoughts from speech and elocution tutors about the surge in interest

There are a lot of pressures on people to try and improve all aspects of themselves….everyone is fighting for jobs and positions and employers have the upper hand in that they can pick and choose.

 

A lot of people I work with want to develop skills in presentation and communication as well as speech and articulation. It’s about how they put themselves across and whether they can make a clear point.

 

One factor behind the rise in requests for elocution coaching was The King’s Speech, the film starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who sought assistance from a speech therapist to help him overcome his fear of public speaking.

So are we seeing a return to the days of Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle?

Where ambitious people were denied opportunities because they spoke?

In this competitive job seeking world, it could very well be the case.

Food for thought, indeed…

presentation skills advice

Fearful Public Speakers..Try Our 7 “STOP” Public Speaking Tips…

Sam Xu
presentation skills advice

 

“Stop panicking, take your head out of the sand and Start Doing” –

7 public speaking tips that all begin with the word STOP!

 

1. Stop – Do not open Powerpoint!! 

Ditch the Powerpoint and get pen and paper out instead. Making Powerpoint your first port-of-call keeps you from thinking about what you actually want to achieve in your presentation.

2. Stop – Thinking about yourself!

Sure you’re nervous but it’s not about you! Focus instead on your audience & on helping them to engage, listen and understand

3. Stop – Waffling

Instead of chucking lots of information at your audience in the vague hope that something will stick, focus on the following:

  • How will I get the attention of my audience
  • How will I keep it
  • How will I ensure they remember what I need them to remember 

4. Stop – Rehearsing silently in your head

What can sound very well in your head may not sound well spoken aloud.  To reduce your nerves when public speaking you have to hear yourself aloud numerous times and ideally standing up.  This will ensure a confident delivery.  

5. Stop – Panicking about Q&A 

Based on the subject of your presentation try to anticipate the kind of questions you might get, write them down and prepare some answers in advance.

6. Stop – Leaving it to chance and ‘Stage Manage Your Own Success’ 

Take ownership for your public speaking opportunity by anticipating what could possibly go wrong using this initial checklist:

  • What is the layout of the room
  • Have I all the required materials.
  • Have I checked and double checked the technology – compatibility, backup, etc.

7. Stop – Panicking

 

If you follow the 6 public speaking tips above – the more ownership you will take, the more control you will have and the less nerves you will have.

“It’s time to start enjoying your public speaking opportunity and start connecting and engaging a happy audience”