Friday, November 09, 2007

Reflecting on ethos, pathos, logos

An old blog post that manages to get visitors to date is my sharing on ethos, pathos, and logos.

Reading through it makes me realize that the lesson gained from it hampers me to speak on a lot of things and issues encountered today.

Ethos - am I credible enough?
Before speaking or writing on any topic, I subconsciously assess whether I have sufficient information or personal knowledge to write or comment about a matter. When I don't have that and proceed, I believe readers can see through it.

Pathos - have I emphatically listened or know the other person or people concerns and understood?
It is not enough that we are good in what we do or be credible, we also have to show that we care or put value on what other people think. Before giving our side or point of view, we need to make sure we've listened or understood their concerns - to the point they can say we got them clearly. This is not just repeating what they have said but even give scenarios where their point of view is demonstrated. Yes, this takes a lot of time.

This is the reason I haven't spoken on some issues raised in the past as I haven't gone through the process of understanding them clearly. Neither do I want to lift myself up or make myself look superior through putting other people down.

Logos - presenting logical alternatives, opinions, or answers
I've been in situations where the most intelligent person in the room is not likely to conquer the day. Showing how good you are or what you know is not enough. If ethos is present, and pathos is achieved with the person we are interacting with, presenting well thought of logos may have a high chance of success. Otherwise, it will just rub in as arrogance or insult.

I think this is also the reason why a lot of public speakers start their presentation from introducing their background, showing or getting questions and understanding of audience concerns, then presenting their solution or alternatives - though not claiming to be the best. If you were able to conquer the heart and minds of the people you are dealing with in the ethos and pathos phase, openness to logos presented can be likely expected.