The importance of emotions in persuasion
As humans, we make our decisions much more based on emotions than we’d like to admit. Try to think back to the start of the pandemic – how many of your actions were driven by emotion as opposed to logic?
Knowing this can be a very powerful tool when interacting with those around us. Aristotle taught that a speaker’s ability to persuade an audience is based on how well they appeal to that audience in three different areas – logos (logic), ethos (the speaker’s credibility), and pathos (emotion).
But which one comes first?
A diagram to keep in mind
How to inspire others to join you
While these three dimensions of persuasion are equally important, the order in which they are presented in an argument matters a great deal. If we ambush someone into logic before understanding their emotions on the topic, we risk pushing them to the opposite extreme. At that point their brain will try to discredit our credibility.
Instead, if we first understand and connect with their emotions, we can then present the logic in a way that their brain can absorb it. And then we can add the 🍒 on top – our credibility – to strengthen the logic we presented.