The 3 Principles of Persuasive Speaking

Frankie Kemp

20 March 2023

“I’m so passionate about this,” she grinned, flicking to another slide of a dustbin.

It took several minutes of her 5 minute talk before I actually understood:

  1. what the speaker actually did;
  2. the benefits brought to her customers;
  3. how her audience could get involved.

Emotionally she was as clear as a bell.

My concern for the speaker at the environmental innovation conference was that she’d lose her audience before she even started describing her work.

Eventually, I realised how entrepreneurial she was.  Her much needed expertise was grounded in resourcefulness, as she networked her business to profits.

When people are short of time, though, any speaker who bubbles over with enthusiasm without grounding in the facts will lose those salient sections.

It’s a common mistake to label your emotion as ‘passionate’ or ‘confident’ without showing it.  There are several ways to do this, at the same time as conveying the data.


Then there’s the opposite kind of speaker.

The one that gives you the shocking data.

Their dead pan delivery describes a pressing problem and a much needed solution.

But they look and sound like a talking brick.

In desparation, they might throw in a badly timed joke when they feel they’re losing their audience or over-share.

To ensure that you both keep your audience engaged AND come across as credible, you need to ensure that you balance your message – with the three principles of persuasive speaking.


The three principles of persuasive speaking

Aristotle asserted that the principles of rhetoric, that is the skill of persuasive speaking, includes 3 elements:

  • Logos – data, facts, logic, reasoning;

this does NOT mean 3 bar charts, 8 Venn diagrams and a 3-D bar graph.

  • Ethos – credibility or trustworthiness;

this does NOT mean talking through your CV for 15 minutes, or exploring the company’s beginnings in 1987.

  • Pathos – emotions or emotional appeal;

this does NOT mean tear-jerker stories and melodrama around the optimisation of your cloud system.


“So what DOES it mean?” I hear your cry.

In order to present this simply and succinctly, feast on this table: I break down the three the three elements for you.

DataHonestyEmpathy with your audience
ResearchStop self-grooming (looks insecure)Questions that relate to your listener’s experience
FactsUse purposeful gestureConfessions of personal experience
PhotosYour experience (used in examples or in your stories ➡Stories of yourself or others
DemosYour knowledgeHumour (quotes, Tweets, shared experience)

Your Action:

  1. When you next speak, make sure you have a balance of at least one element from each column.
  2. If there’s something you’re not using more of but would like to know how, click on the links.  For example, some people are curious about how they can drop in a story.  Others would love to use humour more, so how do you do that if you’re not a stand-up comic?
    Click on the link relating to that area of interest – there are several practical (and safe) suggestions.


You may already be aware of my courses, coaching, one-off sessions to help people become less vanilla and MORE THRILLER, whether Presenting or Communicating in general.
If not, look here and click ‘Book a Call’ on the page for your free 15 minute Discovery Session.  (No strings attached.  If I can’t help you, I’ll say).


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