Connect with Pathos

Today, we will consider the second of Aristotle’s “artistic proofs” (i.e., means of persuasion): pathos.

Pathos is the emotional appeal, or the ability to connect emotionally with your audience. Pathos is the Greek word for “suffering”, and related English derivatives include  words like “empathy” or “sympathy”.

As a communicator, you may wish to draw sympathy from your audience or arouse anger, to encourage your listener or reader to take some sort of action. Using pathos is one way to elicit such a response.

Below are some ways to utilize pathos:

  • Help your audience identify with your point of view by using an emotional appeal
  • Passionate delivery (language choice)
  • Give your audience a reason to care
  • Create word-pictures
  • Compelling stories examples that will speak to your audience

Question for you: When is it appropriate to use emotional appeal? How can you use it as an effective communication tool in your communication? In the next few weeks, pay attention to the communication around you (news, articles, TV, speakers, etc.) and listen specifically for emotional appeal.

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