Influence and Persuasion


While perusing Alltop today, I came across a fantastic resource: a visualization of influence.  The digram below links influence with connection.

Image Credit

According to this diagram, influence is the ability to connect with others in order to persuade them your ideas are relevant, worthy, and, hopefully, awesome.  So while connection through all of the channels shown above must occur, the three modes of persuasion must also occur simultaneously.

First, your idea should be logical in that it is sound, organized, structured, and clear.  The logical appeal, called logos, provides facts and figures to support your claim.  If you make an argument (“this recipe is the best…”), you must provide evidence to prove that argument is indeed true (“…according to 750 chefs in Florida”).  How can you use logos to influence others?  Well, in the diagram above, the sheer volume of positive feedback is crucial as well as number of “likes” and amount of followers from social media outlets.  Ratings are also great sources for logos when sharing your ideas as long as the ratings contain data.

Next, your idea should convey emotion.  Your own passion and enthusiasm should be apparent, but your idea should also inspire the emotions of others.  Often, people throw logic out of the window completely when the emotional appeal becomes involved.  (Have you ever been in love?)  The emotional appeal is known as pathos, but think beyond “happy” and “sad.”  Human beings often feel several emotions at once, so really analyze what triggers (plural) your ideas are setting off for your audience.  Thinking about pathos and influence, look how many times “comments” and “discussion” are displayed.  The idea of making your audience so moved that they take the time out of their busy day to leave a positive comment or to engage in a discussion with others really validates your idea pathos-wise.  Comments are typically the result of a strong feeling.  You’ll never see, “I really don’t have any feelings about the Real Housewives series.”  Instead, you see tempers flaring and debates raging.  See what I mean here.  Over 600 passionate viewers wrote comments!

Lastly, your idea should display your ethical appeal.  Called ethos, this isn’t just about right and wrong.  In fact, “ethos” is a Greek word meaning “character,” so your ethical appeal is your credibility, your character.  Ethos is about the audience’s perception of the person behind the idea – the face behind the brand, so this appeal must be strong in order to influence others.  You’ll want to show others that you have wisdom and a well-developed skills set to promote your idea.  Your audience needs to see that you are a good, honest person as opposed to someone who will take advantage of them.

Learn more about the three modes of persuasion here.  Teachers: to learn more about how to apply ethos, pathos, and logos on the first day of a new class, see my blog post here.


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