When you need to sell an idea at work or in a presentation, how do you do it? Five rhetorical devices can help — Aristotle identified them 2,000 years ago, and masters of persuasion still use them today:
• Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. Show your audience that you are committed to the welfare of others, and you will gain their trust.
• Logos. Use data, evidence, and facts to support your pitch.
• Pathos. People are moved to action by how a speaker makes them feel. Wrap your big idea in a story that will elicit an emotional reaction.
• Metaphor. Compare your idea to something that is familiar to your audience. It will help you clarify your argument by making the abstract concrete.
• Brevity. Explain your idea in as few words as possible. People have a limited attention span, so talk about your strongest points first.
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