How to Influence People

donald trump
donald trump

Photo Courtesy by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (

The modes of persuasion, often referred to as ethical strategies or rhetorical appeals are devices in rhetoric that classify the speaker’s appeal to the audience.

One of the world’s most influential thinkers, ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle made work he named Rhetoric. The Rhetoric is regarded by most rhetoricians as “the most important single work on persuasion ever written.”

To Aristotle, there were three main elements: ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos is how you convince an audience of your credibility, logos is a person’s use of logic and reasoning, pathos appeals to emotion.

Today we apply these three elements to any form of communication. Real power and a persuasive message, comes from when you combine two or even all three of them. In modern culture and domination of mass media, pathos it’s often the most effective mode, particularly in America.

Genius example of a persuasive speaker in America is undoubtedly Donald Trump. We can either agree or disagree with the content of his presentation, but he certainly attracts our attention. Most likely something we would agree on is that Trump has two elements of a total tree: credibility and emotion. His credibility is to appear to the audience’s best interest in mind by sharing and affirming their desires and prejudices, and understanding and amplifying their cultural values. He doesn’t mind if you don’t agree with him because he’s not talking to you anyway. He speaks with every day and a simple language, he repeats a lot and uses strong punchy words at the end of his sentences. Because Trump’s style is so confusing, audiences have to pay closer attention to make sense of his words. The fact that Trump sounds more like a real person than his political competition shows precisely how upside-down our current view of rhetoric is.

“An emotional speaker always makes his audience feel with him, even when there is nothing in his arguments” — Aristotle, Rhetoric.

Trump’s claim moves listeners emotionally and persuades them precisely because they are angry, and he’s showing that he is angry too — which is vastly more effective communications than the bland assertions by the professional politicians that they “understand” there is a lot of anger out there. This is also an example of projective identification, in a form of defense, a way of communicating, a primitive form of relationship, used for ridding the self of unwanted parts or for controlling the other’s body and mind.

Trump is one of the biggest emotional leaders, he is a persuasive speaker and he uses emotions to communicate with the audience. His thoughts and emotions are openly expressed. Citizens of America and people around the world can easily feel his voice and within their ability to understand the power and influence Trump has.

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