Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ethos, pathos, logos

In the book "The 8th Habit", Stephen Covey talked about the Greek Philosophy of Influence called ethos, pathos, logos. Upon reading it yesterday, it reminded me of a recent event where a draft research output being presented was heavily lambasted by several well-known people in the audience.

The resource team gave a reaction but was not good enough in substance. A lot of it relied on their personal opinion and expertise. It almost reached the point where the reactors obviously showed no confidence on the methodology and reasoning used by the researcher.

Looking back, the team who did the research lacked ethos or credibility. Perhaps, they were not able to package themselves well, in order to be seen as trustworthy, by having the integrity and competence with the work that they do.

During the discussion portion of the forum, as comments and challenges were hurled, the resource team failed to demonstrate pathos or emphaty. They listened but at the same time defend their findings. No step was taken to truly demonstrate the intent to understand the concerns first. Instead, the research team pushed logos or logic immediately. Instead of calming the reactors, it spurred further criticism to the body of work presented.

The timing and sequence of execution between ethos, pathos, and logos is critical. No amount of pathos and logos will work if the team presenting was not able to establish their ethos first.

Logos, no matter how accurate and relevant, will be vaguely accepted if the participant asking was not given pathos, recognizing how they feel.