4 ways to use ethos in persuasive speaking

If you want to deliver a persuasive speech with the aim of convincing the audience to adopt or accept your viewpoint, you need to utilize the power of ethos. 


Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. In public speaking terms, ethos defines how credible, trustworthy, and relatable you are as a speaker. If your audience is going to be convinced by what you have to say, they need to trust you.  


I’ve going to share four practical ways you can use and establish ethos to help increase your power of persuasion: 


  • Show similarity 

You’ve been carefully selected to speak in front of this audience for a very specific reason. This is because you are believed to be relatable to the audience in some way; whether it be for your knowledge, your life’s journey, or the products and service that you offer.   


If you’re unsure, it’s ok to go back and ask the organization who approached you to speak so you can get valuable clues as to why you were selected, and then use these to help you identify with your audience. 


Make a list of the common traits that you share and find ways to draw these out in your storytelling.  


  • Display trust

Show up early and interact with your audience. Better still, start interacting with them on social media a few weeks before the event. This will not only help build trust, it will also increase your exposure ahead of the event and allow the audience to learn a little bit about you before they hear you speak. 


If you mingle with the audience before you speak, make a point of talking about them, not you. It’s your job to get to know them as much as possible so that you can genuinely add value to your presentation. 


  • Display humility 

Humility is profoundly appealing to an audience. It takes true character to show humility and share some of the challenging times that have got you to where you are today. At the end of the day, we are humans, not robots or gods. We all fall down, we make mistakes, we learn, and move on.  


Practice being truly honest with yourself in those moments and create a story around them. 


  • Be confident 

Being confident doesn’t mean that you don’t get nervous before you speak. It’s about having a deep rotted belief in your own abilities. It’s having confidence that what you have to say is providing value and is something that the audience needs to hear. And the easiest way to be confident is to know what your listeners need and how you can help.


Ethos is just one of the many ways you can persuade an audience. To find out more about the art of persuasive speaking, enroll on my course “The Art of Persuasive Speaking in Global Business.” 


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