Rhetoric is the art of discovering all available means of persuasion or ways to make truth seem more probable to an audience that isn’t completely convinced. A speaker supports the probability of a message by logical, ethical and emotional proofs. Accurate audience analysis results in effective invention, arrangement, style, delivery, and presumably, memory.
According to Aristotle, there are three different means of influencing and persuasion available. When you learn how to integrate and incorporate all of these three elements, you become a master of persuasion.
Logical proof comes from the line of argument in the speech. This is the part of persuasion that deals with logic or reason. Logos is used to back up a claim. Engaging logos as your persuasion tool involves getting someone else into a thinking mode.
Ethical proof is the way of the speaker’s character is revealed through the message. This is the aspect of persuasion that deals with credibility. Since everything counts in the area of personal credibility, everything that you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility and your capability to influence someone.
Emotional proof is the feeling the speech draws out of the hearers. This is the area of persuasion that deals with emotions. It has been demonstrated time and again, the great influence that emotion has over logic on a person when it comes to making a buying decision.
Most public presentations that existed from Aristotle’s time till now, has a bit of logos, ethos and pathos in it, but perhaps no other modern-day speech has brought all three proofs together as effectively as Martin Luther King, Junior’s speech called “I Have A Dream”, delivered in 1963 to civil rights marchers in Washington, DC.
In the year 2000, American public address scholars selected King’s – I Have A Dream” as the greatest speech of the twentieth century. To view a copy of the speech, click here.
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