3 Keys to persuading an audience: ethos, logos and pathos

April 16, 2012

Recently I was coaching a group of high school students for a public speaking competition.

The art of persuasion dates back to the ancient Greeks. Aristotle identified the three main elements of persuasion as ethos, logos and pathos. We talked about these classical rhetorical devices that are considered the keys to a persuasive speech:

Ethos (Ethical appeal)

The English word “ethics” is derived from this Greek word.

Your audience must find you ethical and believable. As a speaker, it is your job to convince your audience that you are credible and that you are worth listening to.

Speak with authority, but not arrogance. Be confident, but not condescending. Be the best version of your truly authentic yourself.

An audience’s respect must be earned. Do not take it for granted.

But your credibility alone is not enough. You also need these other elements:

Logos (Logical appeal)

The English word “logic” is derived from this Greek word.

A well-crafted speech is well organized. It has a logical flow. The message is consistent. It can be helpful out outline a speech as part of your preparation. Check that every element of the speech relates to the point you are trying to make.

Do not ramble or go off on tangets. Focus on the point you want to make and stick to your topic.

Scientists and academics will often have a speech that is laden with logical arguments, but forget to include this next critical element…

Pathos (Emotional appeal)

The English words “passion”  and “compassion” are derived from this Greek word.

Your speech must appeal to the audience on an emotional level. Engage their imagination. Take them on a journey of hope. Say something they will remember and that will impact them on a deep level.

End your speech on a positive note to ensure that you are using pathos for maximum effect. Just remember to include your ethical appeal and a logical argument to balance off a passionate delivery.

Together, ethos, logos and pathos are considered the perfect trifecta of a persuasive speech.  Do you incorporate all three when you’re trying to convince someone of your point of view?

For those of you who are teachers: When you teach presentation skills to students do you teach them about ethos, pathos and logos?


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Best resources of the week (Nov. 20 to 26, 2011)

December 4, 2011

Here are my favorite resources of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Social Media

Schools would be wise to adopt Granville district’s social media policies – Newark Advocate

How to hide Twitter #hashtag chats from your followers by Dave Larson

The Rise of the Connected Non-Profit from Mashable

10 Things I Learned On My Twitter Journey To 100,000 Followers by John Paul

How 5 Top Brands Crafted Their Social Media Voices by Lauren Indvik

“Don’t do as I say, do as I do” – the role of leadership in promoting the use of social media by Don Ledingham

7 Secrets Of Highly Effective Twitter Power Users  by Lauren Dugan

10 Steps to Kick Start Your Twitter Network from Edte.ch Blog

Proposed social media policy has this school committee in a huff by Sherilynn Macale

Literacy and Essential Skills

Reading to your kid: even more important than you think – The Globe and Mail

How Canadian contemporary authors inspire youth – Imaginaction

Language Learning and Teaching

Chicago Public Schools teacher Kickstarting ESL program through song by Alyssa Vitale

Scaffolding Academic Learning for Second Language Learners by Karen Sue Bradley & Jack Alden Bradley


Activities for online courses: The Beginning by Nicky Hockly

How To Be a Top Learning Organization by Tiffani Murray

7 Things You Should Know about Google Apps from Educause

For some kids, a book is just an iPad that doesn’t work by Ivor Tossell

62 things you can do with Dropbox from MacWorld

Education Resources

Tools for Teaching: Authentic Assessment from the Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies, Royal Roads University

Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson by Jackie Gerstein

Google Scholar Citations Now Open to All by Ryan Cordell

Education News

Dyslexia may explain my school failure, says Annabel Heseltine by Julie Henry

Ministers of Education Report to Canadians on Official Languages in Education – Canada Newswire

A School System in Maine Gives iPads to Kindergartners from Voice of America

Alberta education minister welcomes input on overhauling system via social media – Metro News

Year-round school: An idea worth exploring – The Windsor Star

Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

Stop Breaking the Basic Rules of Presenting by Ned Potter

App for Speakers: A presentation timer by Takuya Murakami

Secrets from JFK’s Speechwriter by Peter Temple


How to Write, Launch and Sell Your Informational Ebook by Alexis Grant

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s Favorite Resource of the Week (Nov. 13 to 19, 2011)


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

How to Get a Spectacular Speaker for Your Next Literacy or Language PD Event

April 26, 2011

Sarah Elaine Eaton - Ontario Literacy Conference speaker 2010I’ve had some conversations recently with colleagues looking for speakers for conferences, professional development (PD) events or workshops. They’ve said that they don’t really know where to start looking and find themselves in that classic quandary… “We need someone good… Really, really good… And we have a limited budget!” Where to start?

In 2010 I was inducted into the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and I realized that there’s a big gap, a chasm almost, between the world of corporate meeting planners and the non-profit volunteer conference organizing committees. I talk to dozens of professional speakers who are aching to speak at more non-profit and educational events… and volunteer organizers who just don’t know where to find great speakers. There must be a way to get both groups connected!

Here are some tips that may help…

Decide on your budget

Whether you’re working with an entire committee or you’re one person charged with the responsibility of finding an amazing speaker, you’ll want to figure out how much you have to spend. Your budget will generally include two parts:

  • Speaking fee
  • Travel and accommodation

Some speakers have an “all in” fee that includes travel, meals and accommodation. Keynote speeches for non-profit events start at about $500 and go up to $10,000. The fee is often a combination of what the organization can afford and the speaker’s rates. $5000 for a keynote speaking fee is about average, but there is a great deal of variance.

Prospective clients sometimes ask me if I will speak for free. The answer is yes, but there are some rules.

Have a clear idea of what kind of speaker you want

Every event wants someone “good”, but what does that mean to you? Do you want your speaker to entertain, educate or both? Usually, it’s a good idea to get someone who is knowledgeable or an advocate of your subject area. Don’t get in a mechanics expert for a group of literacy practitioners. Make sure your speaker has either worked in the field or is a champion of it.

Beware of the “I need to work” types who will claim to be a supporter of your cause just because they need a gig. A quick Google search can help you figure out who’s really in your corner.

Use your networks to find good speakers

Ask your colleagues, teachers and others for recommendations. Keynoters often get work due to referrals and word of mouth. Don’t be afraid to ask people around you who comes to mind when they think of an engaging presenter. Use professional listservs, Twitter and other social media to get recommendations, too.Auditorum seats

Put out a call for keynotes or plenary speakers

Conferences put out calls for presenters, but don’t often do the same for keynotes or plenaries because they fear that the quality of those who might apply would be lower than if they conducted the search themselves. That’s kind of like saying that a university only accepts students they seek out and they don’t accept applications. Putting out a call for keynotes is a great way to find high quality speakers who are building a reputation – particularly if your budget is very limited. Do an RFP (Request for Proposals) and be clear in your call what fee range you’re looking for, then speakers who are working in that range are likely to apply.

Check out your local professional speaking organization

Really, professional speakers are not as expensive as you may think! There is a stereotype about professional speakers that they have a certain approach (a la Tony Robbins, for example). While it’s true that there are many motivational or inspirational professional speakers, there are also hundreds who specialize in speaking to non-profit and educational audiences.

Professional speaking organizations are usually national organizations. Members must meet a strict set of professional criteria (such as a minimum number of paid speaking engagements per year, letters of reference, etc.) before being inducted into a major national organization. These big organizations are often divided further into state or provincial chapters.

Look for evidence of past success

Good speakers have a track record of success.

In the United States, it is pretty much de rigueur that speakers will have a demo video in the form of a CD, a DVD or a YouTube video. In Canada this may be true for corporate speakers, but has yet to fully catch on for non-profit and philanthropic speakers.

At the very least, a speaker should have testimonials and a list of past clients. Ask for recommendations. Check for a calendar of past or upcoming events. With or without a video, a good indicator of success is a full speaking schedule.

Travel and Accommodation

If there’s one thing that is non-negotiable, it’s travel and accommodation. Your speaker may have traveled all day to get to your event. A hot shower, a clean room and a good meal are a relief after a long day of travel.

Having a greeter at the airport is a nice touch that many non-profit conference organizers overlook.

If you’re trying to save on costs, here’s a tip: Hotel food is often high in calories and not very interesting. Many speakers will appreciate a home cooked meal at the home of a conference organizer. This gives your speaker a chance to get to know you and enjoy some social time.

Allow speaker product sales

I’m baffled by conferences that require speakers to rent a booth in order to sell their products. I suspect that thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars a year are lost at non-profit events because the conference has a policy against product sales. Unless the speaker travels with an assistant, they likely won’t have the time to set up a booth and sell product.

An experienced speaker will likely be busy reviewing their notes or doing other preparations before the presentation – as they should. Once a speaker factors in the cost of a booth, plus the cost of an assistant to set up that booth and sell the product, most, if not all of the revenue they would have made is gone. So, speakers abide by conference policies and leave their books, workbooks, CDs and DVDs at home.

A better option: Set up a table at the back of the room where the speaker is giving his or her presentation. Have a conference volunteer work at that table in exchange for a percentage of the gross sales (20% to 30% of total sales is common). If a speaker sells $500 in books and splits the revenue 70/30 with the conference, then the conference makes $150. The speaker takes away $350, from which he or she will need to pay the costs of production (book printing), packaging and shipping. In the end, it works out to a pretty fair split.

Develop a relationship with your speaker

Don’t think of this as one-time gig. This is your opportunity to develop an on-going relationship with someone. Your speaker may help to promote your event by posting about it on Twitter, Facebook or other social media. They may mention you on their blog or find other ways to drive traffic to your website and positive attention to your organization. Non-profit speakers usually have a deep emotional attachment to their field. They want to get to know you and those you serve. If you develop a relationship, that same person may join you again for future events. Figure out how you can help each other succeed and I guarantee you that you’ll get quality speakers that your audiences will love.


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Rubrics for Grading Student Presentations

December 20, 2010

This semester I developed some rubrics for grading student presentations in class. They include criteria such as preparation and presentation skills. The rubrics are designed so that they can be used either for native speakers or language learners.

There are 4 different rubrics. I used them with my university-age students. They could also be easily used with adult learners or high school students. For younger grades, you may want to adapt them to their level.

Feel free to use them, share them or let them inspire you to create your own.

Have a quick look here:

Rubric #1

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #2

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #3

View this document on Scribd

Rubric #4

View this document on Scribd

Sometimes the links disappear from Scribd and if that has happened, you can also download them directly from my blog:

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 1 

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 2 (Updated in 2013) 

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 3

Click the link to download –> Presentation Grading Rubric 4 (Updated in 2013)

Update : March 19, 2013 – If you are looking for these and the links do not work, please e-mail me at saraheaton2001 (at) yahoo (dot) ca. I’ll be happy to send them to you.

Update: March 27, 2017 – This is one of the more popular posts on my blog. As of this update, it has been viewed over 120,000 times. If you found this post useful, please like it and share it with others.

Related post: Teaching Public Speaking to Literacy or ESL Students http://wp.me/pNAh3-mZ


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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