How Persuasion And Rhetoric Work

All communication is a form of persuasion. We are always trying to persuade the people we interact with of something. Trying to make them believe what we want them to believe.

Mr. Rogers instinctively understood how to persuade his audience. Which is to say: he understood the art of rhetoric.

Rhetoric is the study of persuasion through language and image. It’s a part of the ancient Trivium.

The basic principles of rhetoric are relatively simple to learn and master. There are three approaches to persuasion that are best used in combination with each other:

  1. Logos: appealing through logic and reason.
  2. Pathos: appealing through emotions.
  3. Ethos: appealing through your character, reputation and/or image.

Mastering them will give you the keys to the entire world.

The Surface.

Youtube Video: Mr. Rogers And The Power Of Persuasion.

Creator: Will Schoder

Length: 23:40

In A Sentence: An explanation of how to use the principles rhetoric through the example of Mr. Rogers’s 1969 Senate hearing testimony.

Favourite Quote: “I’m a firm believer that the best story-tellers, articulators and persuaders – not only have the strongest relationship with people but they also run the world. They know how to get friends and audiences to like and trust them. They know how that facts don’t change opinions unless they first speak to people’s sentiments, their sense of identity and self-interests. And all ultimately, they know how to get people to take action.”

Previous, Related Recommendations: 9 Principles I Learned From The Art Of War

The Deep Dive: Coming soon.

The Review

Will Schoder is an excellent storyteller and teacher. In this video he distills the essential lessons of rhetoric into an easily digestible and engaging video.

Why Today?

In today’s attention economy, the one who control attention controls the world. Creating convincing arguments and making oneself persuasive is an important part of that.

Persuasion is at the root of every human interaction. We are always trying to persuade people of something and other people are always trying to persuade us of something. Persuasive people are therefore more popular, richer and healthier than other people. We are instinctively drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

Not only can studying rhetoric make you more persuasive – it also protects you from manipulation and propaganda (the dark side of rhetoric). That kind of protection is no less important in today’s world.