Persuasive Techniques

Everything you need to write and speak effectively


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners; build on the ideas of others and express own ideas clearly and persuasively.

The Rhetorical Triangle

First and foremost, let's look at persuasive techniques. The most important for you to understand are Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.


Ethos is what you use to set up your credibility. It should answer the question, "Why should readers believe what I have to say about this topic?"
  • Your education level
  • Your previous experience with the topic
  • Your presentation of legitimate research in the field of study


Logos is what you use to prove your argument. It should answer the question, "What evidence do I have to prove I'm right?"
  • Statistics
  • Interviews
  • Data


Pathos is what you use to appeal to your audience's emotions. It should answer the question, "How can my argument make people sad, happy, excited, etc.?"
  • Using personal stories
  • Pointing out potential dangers
  • Looking at historical events similar to your topic

Audience Awareness

You should also be aware of who you are speaking or writing to. You wouldn't want to give a speech about greenhouse gas emissions ruining the environment to a group of fossil fuel executives, for example. If you did, you would have to use different persuasive techniques than if you were talking to a group of Environmentalists.

Check out this awesome lecture before class

Audience Awareness Medium