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defined, emotion is "a strong surge of feeling marked by an impulse to
outward expression." It's
our passionate side. Logic is
"the science concerned with the principles of valid reasoning and
correct inference." This
is our rational side. Character is "the combination of qualities or
traits that distinguishes an individual."
This is the sum total of who we are.
about it. Who doesn't prefer listening to a compelling speaker who
exudes passion and heart? And
wouldn't you rather discuss an issue with someone who knows the ins and outs
of a subject rather than the person who relies on guesswork and good
intentions? And who wouldn't
consider it wise, if not essential, to investigate a communicator's
character before believing his contentions?
would disagree with the importance of the three elements of persuasion.
Problems occur, however, when one of the three is either overused,
lacking, or overshadowed.
it's been wisely said, "Truth out of balance is error."
So too, communication lacking the correct persuasive balance can be
equally erroneous and ineffective. Like
the expert juggler, effective communicators must keep the essentials of
their craft in constant balance or everything will come tumbling down 3/4
especially their message.
anyone think Aristotle's observations have little relevance to the present
day, they need only look at the goings-on in the political arena for
evidence of persuasive tactics at work.
to emotions: "Let me tell you about a man I met in Dallas who's out of
work and has no health-care insurance."
Appealing to reason, a candidate might argue, "Here are the
plain and simple facts, folks." Appealing to character:
"I voted my conscience. I
believe it's the right thing for America."
get a bit more personal. Do you
have a cause to which you'd like your friends to donate time or money?
Using the three persuasive elements, you'll need to make your friends
feel compassion for the group in need (appeal to emotion), show them exactly
where and how their money and time will be used (appeal to logic), and
demonstrate your own integrity, concern, and commitment in seeing the
effort succeed (appeal to character).
you may want your boss to fund health-club memberships for employees at
work. You'll first have to
create a fear of heart attacks among employees and supervisors to make them
feel the potential loss (appeal to emotions).
Next, you'll have to convince the executive who holds the purse
strings that wellness reduces absenteeism and increases productivity (appeal
to logic). Finally, you'll have
to demonstrate that your interest is not for selfish reasons but for the
well-being of the entire organization (appeal
next time you want to influence someone in your way of thinking, balance the
three essentials of persuasion and make Aristotle proud.
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