Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Art of Persuasion: A Series on Rhetoric

Personal development must involve not only the inner being, but must also touch upon one’s ability to communicate that inner being. One particularly useful type of communication is persuasion. Whether you are attempting to convince your daughter to wear a less revealing outfit, or your boss to understand that your value to the company is well worth an extra $20K per year, or your prospective customer to contract for your services, persuasion is one of the most valuable skills you can have. With this in mind, is it not surprising that people spend very little time developing and honing this talent? Besides a few boring and formulaic exercises in some consultant’s presentation on making sales (ABC: Always Be Closing!), or some other faddish hogwash, what have you done to learn and develop your skills at the art of persuasion? A critical element of personal development is the personal part, meaning the part that you do for yourself. If you recognize the ultimate value of the art of persuasion, the place to begin training yourself is called rhetoric; more specifically, the branch of rhetoric called Persuasive Appeals. Aristotle taught, and many experts agree, that the three kinds of persuasive appeal are logos: the appeal to reason; pathos: the appeal to emotion; and ethos: the persuasive appeal of one’s character. These three types of persuasive appeal are most effectively used in combination, together making up the essence of an argument.

(Check back tomorrow for more on The Art of Persuasion.)