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How to Use Logos as One of your Persuasion Elements


Most speeches we present will be speeches to persuade in one way or another.  You may want to persuade your audience to take advantage of a product or service.  You may want to persuade them that your answer to a problem is the best choice.   You may want to persuade them to change their way of doing things.  There are any number of persuasive speeches and presentations. 

It has been said that “people buy on emotions, and rationalise on logic.” So to “sell” or to persuade, we need both the emotional connection and the logical support for our message.  We also need to start with a basis of trust.  The audience will not connect to emotion or listen to logic if they do not trust the speaker, do not acknowledge the speaker’s credibility.  These three elements: emotion, logic and credibility are known as pathos, logos and ethos.  The words were used in this connection, first, by Aristotle.

In this Tip Number 14 of the 30 Speaking Tips, we will look at persuading using “Logos”. 

It is necessary to understand that often-times what the speaker is trying to achieve will be in contradiction of what the audience believes.  The aim is to help people come to the most logical outcome which happens to suit both the audience and the speaker.  

You will need to research to provide evidence and ways of persuading.  Collect solid information from known authorities.  Collect it from your own experience.  Collect statistics, quotations and back–up evidence.

The process of persuasion can begin from the basis of common beliefs – things your audience already believes and takes for granted.  Start by listing what the audience takes for granted about a situation or problem.  That will form a foundation for taking the audience with you into the following material.

A good way to have the audience own the process of coming to the conclusion is to ask questions.  It engages their attention and if they answer a question that takes them a step closer to a particular point, they own that answer. 

If you were presenting a solution to a problem, by all means, detail the theory of why it is the best solution. Show the strengths and weaknesses of the solution.  Then make a clear outline of the procedure and methods to be used, the cost and time involved, the staff required.  Give examples where similar solutions have worked.  Show why this solution is better than alternatives.

And back all of these up with the statistics and facts that you have collected.

Cite the sources for these support materials adding the backing of ethos to the logos.

Use stories, analogies and personal details to make the statistics and facts more real and palatable, but be mindful that it is the logic that is at work here.

As I said at the beginning, logos does not work as well on its own as when it is combined with ethos and pathos.  This is partly because people buy on emotion and justify with rationality.  It also takes into account that there are people who are more swayed by emotions and others who have to have the facts before they will make a decision.  So the combination has a better chance of covering everyone in the audience, and persuading them all.


©Bronwyn Ritchie

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Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Get her 30 speaking tips FREE and boost your public speaking mastery over 30 weeks.  Join now or go to