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Mental Models
Featured Models

Aristotle's Rhetoric

This model from Ancient Greece has helped define the art of persuasion for over 2,000 years and continues to serve as a guide for impactful speeches, communication and presentations.  Aristotle’s Rhetoric model describes your ability to persuade an audience by combining three ‘appeals’: Logos, which is an appeal to logic and reason of the message; Ethos, which is an appeal to the character and credibility of the speaker; and Pathos, which is an appeal to the emotions and values of the audience.  RHETORIC IS CONTEXTUAL & PERSONAL.  Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the ability, in a particular case, to identify the available means of persuasion.” This points to Aristotle's view that effective rhetoric must be highly contextual. Indeed, Aristotle explicitly identified the limits of making sound rational arguments that failed to appeal to a specific audience’s beliefs, thinking and expectations — yes, apparently ‘empathy-driven customer-centricity’ is as old as Aristotle!  THE THREE APPEALS.  Aristotle described the three appeals at some length, explaining: “The man (sic) who is to be in command of them must, it is clear, be able (1) to reason logically, (2) to understand human character and goodness in their various forms, and (3) to understand the emotions.” Let’s look at the techniques behind each of the three appeals in more detail:  The Appeal Focus Tips Example Logos - Logic and reason.  The message -  A clearly structured argument and narrative with causal relationships and evidence that makes sense to your audience.  Ensure a logical flow with supporting reasons and evidence.  Address counterarguments in your audience’s minds. Consider using data and statistics.  Consider the style and form to best support the argument’s flow.  Ensure your argument is built on an accepted premise.  Support your audience to come to the conclusion for themself.  Consider context, including referencing your time and place to build a compelling narrative.  This model is important —  according to some economist, today persuasion is responsible for generating one-quarter of the USA’s total national income. This model will help you realise greater results. Ethos - Character and credibility The presenter -  Trusting that the person delivering the message has the appropriate experience, knowledge and intentions to be trusted in the area.  Consider the type of character that will most influence your audience.  Consider style and voice to reflect your authority, ethics and personality.. Cite relevant credentials and experience. Leverage testimonials and case studies. Be transparent about your motivation and potential conflicts, biases or assumptions.  This model is important —  Aristotle is widely considered to be one of the most influential thinkers in history and, from all accounts,  he was committed to making the powers of persuasion accessible to more people.  Pathos - Emotions and values.  The audience - Focusing on the emotional state and beliefs of the audience, shifting them to increase how receptive they are. .  Build from the current emotional disposition and beliefs of your audience.  Consider what emotions would make your audience most receptive to your message _ joy, hope, fear, happiness, anger etc.  Use stories about individuals to make the argument human and personal.  This model is important —  Sam was frustrated and often ignored in her job which was destroying her confidence. Then she started to apply this model and was able to get her message heard and become a respected team member.    ARISTOTLE’S TWO ADDITIONAL PERSUASION TIPS  Aristotle had two other tips about persuasion:  Less is more. He seemed to identify that more information did not actually convince people, so argued for brevity.  Metaphors: Continuing his audience-centric theme, Aristotle strongly advocated the use of metaphors to leverage the existing ideas and mental models of your audience when introducing new ideas.  The trick with these tips along with the three appeals is to consider your audience and find the right combination between them to make an impact.  IN YOUR LATTICEWORK As a key model in the art of persuasion, definitely combine Aristotle’s Rhetoric model with Caldini’s Six Principles of Influence. The audience-centric approach behind Aristotle's approach will also benefit from models such as Personas and Empathy Maps.  In terms of communication, you might want to contrast or even combine this model with Minto Pyramid and SCQA, particularly for inpatient business audiences.  Use models such as Divide and Conquer or Correlation vs Causation to help establish Logos, or a logical flow. In relation to an appeal of Ethos or credibility, definitely leverage the Trust Equation. In terms of an appeal to Pathos or emotion, you might want to consider the Hero's Journey for more effective and emotional storytelling. 

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