This is What Public Speakers Can Learn from Aristotle’s Greatest Mistake

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Spoiler Alert: I can only reveal once you fully appreciate the useful parts of Aristotle’s idea.

Have you ever had to – or will you ever have to – speak in front of an audience? It could have been (or be) an audience of one hundred or an audience of one. In either case, you may have noticed what happens when you’re in the audience watching other people speak. Sometimes you enjoy the presentation, sometimes you’re bored to tears. And it’s not based on the nature of the subject.

Here’s why.

Most speakers employ some variation of Aristotle’s Model of Communication. While roughly based on his Treatise on Rhetoric, it does not directly incorporate the persuasive tools Aristotle outlines in that classic volume. Indeed, neither does it involve the five canons of rhetoric, although this makes more sense since Cicero identified them centuries after Aristotle’s death.

Still, despite the lack of these important communication components, there’s another, more important, reason why Aristotle’s Model of Communication often fails. To best grasp the reason for this failure – and how to either avoid it or take advantage of it – you need to understand why this model has been both popular and effective.Continue Reading “This is What Public Speakers Can Learn from Aristotle’s Greatest Mistake”

3 Critical Points Every Great Speaker Must Address

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Every speaker wants to know the answer to this question: How do I make my presentation more effective, more memorable and more exciting for the audience. Aristotle said it best in his book The Art of Rhetoric (ca 350BC):

Podium

Pathos – A passion for the subject.

Logos – A thorough knowledge of the subject.

Ethos – The acknowledged credibility to comment on the subject (requires Pathos and Logos).

Every aspect of speaking must address at least one (if not all three) of these areas. I hope to tell stories of how I used these in the many successful presentations I have offered to appreciative audiences.