"The Art of Persuasion Hasn't Changed in 2000 Years" Harvard Business Review


"Persuasion is responsible for generating one-quarter or more of America's total national income."

Author and Harvard University instructor Carmine Gallo outlines the importance persuasion and the timeless insight philosopher Aristotle had on the topic 2000 years ago. Carmine touches on five rhetorical devices from Aristotle's "Rhetoric" in which the Greek philosopher outlines his formula for mastering the art of persuasion.

  1. Ethos or "Character" - if the speaker's actions don't back up their words, they will lose credibility and weaken their argument.

  2. Logos or "Reason" - use data and evidence to make a rational appeal to your audience.

  3. Pathos or "Emotion" - Aristotle believed persuasion could not occur in the absence of emotion. Storytelling is one of the strongest tools for attaching emotion to an idea.

  4. Metaphor - the use of metaphor is how your "new" idea is connected to something familiar for your audience. This is how you make your idea persist in your audience's mind.

  5. Brevity - there is only so much information a person can absorb and retain. Keep things concise and focus on your opening. You will never have their attention as strongly as you do at the beginning.

The skill of being persuasive has never been more valuable. In our economy of knowledge, the ability to sell your idea is one of the most important skills you can develop, and it is a skill that can be learned. Go read the entire article for more insight into the topic and leave your thoughts on persuasiveness below.

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