When Nelson Mandela spoke people listened. When Winston Churchill spoke people listened. When Warren Buffet speaks people listen. When Jeff Bezos speaks people listen. When leaders speak people listen. When you speak do people listen? Do you have the character and credibility to persuade others with your message? Ethos refers to an audience’s perception of the character, authority and credibility of the speaker. Ethos concerns itself with answering the questions of “What do you know about this topic?” and “Why should I trust you?” as asked by the audience.
The ancient Greeks considered rhetoric an essential leadership skill. Rhetoric being the ability to inform, persuade and motivate others. It was considered so important that it was central to all Greek higher education. In ancient times rhetoric was a core part of leadership development and it was taught to ensure leaders were able to speak and write persuasively.
The book Influence: Science and Practice written by Robert B. Cialdini, who received his graduate and postgraduate training in persuasion and social influence from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University. The book shows how much of human behaviour is automatic, as we go through life we develop “rules of thumb” as shortcuts to decision-making, these shortcuts can be used to influence others. An example shortcut occurs when we assume that if something is expensive then it’s of good quality. These rules of thumb work for us the majority of the time. Drawing from research in the field of social psychology, this book explores six “rules of thumb” or principles of persuasion and how they can beused to persuade and influence others.