Article Category: Flashback Friday

Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking (Flashback Friday #5)

On Fridays, we dip into the article archive and emerge with one of the most memorable articles. We’ll dust it off, shine a light on it, and consider it from a new perspective.

Today’s Flashback Article

This week, our time capsule returns to January 2010, when we began our 7-article series on the 2300-year-old theory of ethos, pathos, and logos:

So, what are ethos, pathos, and logos?

In simplest terms, they correspond to:

  • Ethos: credibility (or character) of the speaker
  • Pathos: emotional connection to the audience
  • Logos: logical argument

Together, they are the three persuasive appeals. In other words, these are the three essential qualities that your speech or presentation must have before your audience will accept your message.

Three Pillars of Public Speaking

Years ago, I viewed the “persuasive speech” as something rare and unconnected from the majority of my speaking (which would best be described as informative speaking). With the help of this article series, I realized that persuasion is a dimension of nearly every speaking opportunity we have (and every writing opportunity too).

Over the years, this has been the most-read article series on Six Minutes. It is wonderful to hear from professors and teachers each year who incorporate some or all of this article series into their curriculum.

Read the article series, and let me know whether it changes your perspectives about persuasive speaking:


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Comments icon3 Comments

  1. Kabilan says:

    Why is the credibilty of the speaker(‘Ethos’) be considered one of the pillars of public speaking. Does that mean public speaking is reserved for established speakers only.

    1. Andrew Dlugan says:

      Not at all. In this context, your credibility isn’t about your speaking proficiency; it’s about whether you have credibility as a source to speak about the topic you’ve chosen. A novice speaker may be the most credible person on the planet for a certain topic; conversely, a person who has spoken professionally for dozens of years may lack credibility if they are speaking outside their area of expertise.

      1. Kabilan says:

        Yes, now i get it. Thanks a lot for clearing the misconception.

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