In ethos, logos, pathos, sparks

Logic (logos) alone won’t move an audience. We need emotion – the audience need to feel something before they will be persuaded. This is the area of pathos. Ideally, your audience will feel as enthusiastic as you do. What’s the easiest way to make someone feel the same passion you do? Show it. If you don’t seem enthusiastic about your talk, why should they?

We also need to think about perhaps the most neglected area in presentations – ethos. This can be thought of as a combination of your credibility and your likeability. Credibility might come from your qualifications, expertise, and experience. It also comes from having a clear message and a clear structure that the audience can follow. If you confuse them, you won’t seem credible.

Likeability, on the other hand, might be thought of as something you are born with – or not. Fortunately, that’s not the whole story. The simplest way to make yourself more likeable to your audience is to show them the ways you are like them: shared attitudes, experiences, aims. At a minimum, you need to show that you empathise with their situation. If they feel that you don’t, all the credibility in the world won’t get you very far.

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