Think of Aristotle for your next blogpost


Aristotle’s ingredients for persuasion, the so-called appeals, are known by the names of ethos, pathos and logos. It’s frequently stated that to make people take a specific point of view, your communication should include all of the three elements. However, is it necessary so?

Ethos, logos and pathos are your hammer, your screewdriver and your saw for any job

As thought leaders it is important for Ethos to be rooted in our DNA. If your statements are not perceived as credible, they will have no value to the reader/listener.

Logos is your appeal to logic thinking and a way of persuading an audience by reason. In the technology business ROI-models and comparative competitive data are popular means of arguing your business case. If ethos relates to the ”quality” of your message, logos deals with the hard facts and the more  measurable element of your statements – but…

Personality goes a long way

The expert may know all there is to know about a certain type of product and he can arguable prove to us that product A is better than product B. But if our best friend tells us that Product B is the best he’s ever had, we will often ditch the expert. Choosing the emotional response over a logical means that we are persuaded by Pathos.

Not surprisingly, the technology world is dominated by ”logos” types of communicators – the “aloud-reading-data-sheets”. And even less surprisingly, this is the type that we find the most boring. They may be nice people, indeed. But honestly, if we want to know the specifications of a solution, we read the fact sheets.

What makes thought leaders stand out is the contradiction of an introvert person urging to express him/herself. Because “thought” is essentially the opposite of “action” and “Leadership” obviously requires action. So the ideal Thought Leader is the knowledgeable (ethos) candidate that can ague (logos) proactively with passion (pathos).

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  1. Paul Bevan (@Bevanp4) January 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Carsten, maybe IT vendors need to be thinking of Aristotle for all of their customer facing literature, not just their blogposts!

    There are some subtle takes on the ethos and pathos, if not logos, that maybe put how you approach a blogpost in a slightly different light. I don’t think anybody would disagree about the importance of credibility based up knowledge. However if we take ethos to mean the ethics of the blogger, in the sense that they are imparting their knowledge to give others insight, and that you can impart pathos through story telling I think you end up portraying a more selfless, collaborative, and dare I say it engaging style that will keep people coming back for more.


  2. Carsten Schmidt January 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Paul, a very, very good point. And I believe it somehow comes down to authenticity and the capability of storytelling – or maybe rather story-sharing, as opposed to e.g “transformation of information”.



  1. Rules of Engagement - May 22, 2014

    […] a recent article on Rainmakerfiles we highlighted ”ethos” as a fundamental factor in relevant communication. […]

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