Tag: ethos

The Science & Art of Successful Persuasion

The Science & Art of Successful Persuasion


Whenever we write, whether it’s an email, an English essay or a résumé, we face some kind of “rhetorical” situation that combines the art and science to convince or persuade the audience of the writing. 

The “rhetoric” related to a field of study of persuasion to the audience which is the target of the persuasion.

There are three key elements to the art of persuasion, based on the classical study of Aristotle, an influential Greek philosopher in 4th century BC, known as ethos-pathos-logos.

  • ethos is related whether the story is “credible” to the audience.

  • pathos is related to the emotional element of the story. 

  • logos is related to the logical element of the story to persuade the audience. 

These three elements are referred as “rhetorical appeals”.  The weight or balance of each element may be varied, depending on the type of writing and the audience. In academic writing, ethos and logos are given more emphasis than pathos.

An essay or a noble or a movie script usually rely more on pathos, with less use of ethos or logos. Presenting a pitch deck tends to require a good combination of three elements. The story teller must be credible (ethos) and passionate (pathos) to win the trust of the key audience (investors) and the business model needs to logical (logos).