Here’s an Ancient Greek method of persuasion that works for present-day audiences! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
—the quality of being convincing or believable (Google Dictionary).
About 2,300 years ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle established the 3 Pillars Of Persuasive Speaking.
… and credibility is among these things.
Do you know what term Aristotle used to describe this public speaking characteristic?
[For last week’s Dynamic Marketing Communiqué article on Pathos, click here.]
Recall the last time you attended a public speaking event or webinar.
Did the speaker successfully convince you to welcome his or her thoughts and ideas?
If he or she did, then that speaker might have used ethos properly in delivering his or her talk.
A Greek word for “character” and “ethics,” ethos refers to your ability to appeal to your audience’s morals and beliefs by positioning yourself as credible and trustworthy.
Once your audience sees that you have high ethos, they will trust your words and actively listen to your speech.
So… how can you actually measure and improve your credibility as a speaker?
Here are 4 main characteristics for you to take note of!
If your goal in your speech or presentation is to convince your audience and encourage them to take your call-to-action (CTA), you have to position yourself as a trustworthy speaker.
Remember: Listeners are most likely to be persuaded by someone they trust.
If they don’t see you as someone they can count on to deliver a valuable message, what happens to you and your message?
You’ll just end up wasting time, effort, and energy in presenting a topic that doesn’t compel your audience to act.
Trustworthiness is actually independent of what you are saying. This characteristic is based on your:
Ethics and values
To enhance your trustworthy image as a speaker:
- Arrive at the venue early (or even before the start of the event) on the actual day of your presentation.
Doing so shows that you are dedicated and well prepared for your speech. On the other hand, arriving last minute shows your audience that this is not your priority at the moment.
Don’t even try to use, “Sorry, I got stuck in very bad traffic for over an hour” as an excuse!
If you know the traffic flow in the areas where you’ll be passing through is terrible, that’s another reason for you to travel earlier.
- Tell stories and anecdotes consistent with your message.
As a speaker, you have to make sure that you “walk the talk”―meaning, you don’t just talk about your messages on stage but also apply those in your life.
When your audience sees that your personal stories are consistent with the message you are trying to convey, it will be easier for them to believe you.
- Similarities and Shared Values with the Audience
An audience is more likely to trust, believe, and listen to someone who is similar to them in some way.
This can be similarities in terms of:
Age and gender
Race and culture
… or even beliefs, values, and principles in life!
Here are some things you can do to establish a common ground with your audience:
- Use familiar language.
This will help your audience better understand your message and identify with you.
- Adjust your visual aids depending on listeners’ preferences and demographics.
- Reference people in the audience or events that you witnessed before you deliver your talk.
Use visual aids and tools that are relevant to your audience so you can captivate and sustain their attention throughout your talk.
Incorporating shared experiences in your speech or presentation helps your audience see you as “human” and not just some authoritative figure they are intimidated with.
By “authority,” we don’t mean positioning yourself as a strict and no-fun figure in a public speaking setup.
That’s not how you’ll persuade your audience to believe what you’re saying!
What we mean is you use your voice and insights to help your listeners perceive you as an expert on a specific topic.
If you’re attending a seminar about breakthrough medicines in the 21st century, which speaker are you more likely to believe—the medical practitioner or the non-medical practitioner?
We bet it would be easier for you to believe the speaker who is involved in the medical field!
However, just because you’re not an expert in a particular field, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to talk about topics related to that field.
Don’t let your public speaking career be limited!
You may still talk about topics not related to your expertise, but you have to make sure you conduct in-depth research and consult with other professionals to avoid relaying and discussing wrong information during your presentation.
- Expertise and Reputation
Expertise is what you know about the subject. It depends on your:
Conducted studies and research
Meanwhile, reputation is how your audience sees you regarding your knowledge on a particular subject or within a particular industry.
This depends on:
The number of years you’ve worked in a particular field
Your involvement on a certain topic
Your achievements, acknowledgments, awards, etc.
If ever you get confused about the difference between the two, just remember:
Expertise depends on your internal knowledge on a particular subject.
For example: If you’re a doctor, your expertise lies in your specializations in a certain field of medicine.
Meanwhile, reputation depends on what your audience knows about your contribution to a certain topic.
Following the example above, your reputation as a doctor is being a renowned medical practitioner with many awards and published journals or research.
Note: You don’t need to have numerous awards or several years of experience to be considered a good and credible speaker. While those can increase your credibility, they’re not a necessity.
It’s important to keep all these characteristics in mind, but don’t push yourself too far to the point that you become someone you are not.
Take note that authenticity is a part of ethos! Be the best version of yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else just to appeal to your audience’s reasoning.
Ethos is also not developed overnight.
There are some things you can take immediate action on such as your visual aids and the time you arrive at the venue of your speaking engagement, but aspects such as years of experience and learning how to connect with your audience take time to develop.
No need to rush yourself into these things as they are all part of your journey as a speaker.
Maximize ethos in your speeches or presentations and wow your listeners with your amazing credibility!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!.
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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