Aristotle’s Finest Contribution to Persuasion

If you’ve not read Aristotle’s Rhetoric, do so. If you’d rather spend time watching TV or reading pulp fiction, that’s okay. But, realize that you’ll be missing something of serious value.

FACT: many of the principle’s laid down in Rhetoric are as pertinent and valid today as they were however many thousands of years ago.

FACT: learning and using his principles will help you formulate fantastic arguments.

FACT: these next five points are seriously awesome, and by using them you will be awesomely smart, because you’ll be following the thoughts of a GENIUS!

So, to create a persuasive argument:

  1. Tell a story or make a statement that rocks the audience into attention. (Cool facts or You statements are always good).
  2. Raise a problem or a question that the audience will want you to answer.
  3. Give a way of solving the problem.
  4. Tell the benefits the audience will receive by adopting your solution.
  5. Tell them what to do! (Call to Action!)

For example…

(Spoken to a room full of dog lovers)

Last year XCR company had six thousand complaints filed against it for it’s poison tainted dog food. Many of you buy XCR’s products to feed your dogs.

Companies that receive the amount of complaints that XCR received last year are wrong. And they should be stopped.

We have the power to stop their ill practices by not purchasing their products & by writing to the Better Business Bureau demanding they take action against XCR.

By acting on these two proposals, we will harm XCR financially, and we will be sending a huge message that poor quality is unacceptable. We will be taking advantage of our government supported protective agencies to do what they were designed to do….protect consumers against the unscrupulous practices of foolish companies who seem to be putting profit ahead of quality. This will ensure a future product and industry that provides high quality SAFE products that we can rest assured will not harm our beloved friends….the pooch.

So as of tonight, stop buying XCR products. Even if affording something different is difficult. Do it for your pooch. And, write a letter to the Better Business Bureau. Tell them you want changes made at once!

Even though the example is a rough draft, it shows an example of the kind of argument you can create following Aristotle’s time tested Persuasion tips.

So….now…..go and do likewise!

The Truth About Persuasion

One day Truth wanted to see the sights, so she decided to go for a walk around town. Truth had long blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a lovely sounding voice. When she walked through the town, however, she noticed that people would turn away from her, close doors to her, and run away from her. She could not understand. She knew she was beautiful, she knew she was sexy, so she failed to understand why people were so rude.

After almost walking completely from one side of town to the other, she was stopped on the road by three nice looking people. At first the people seemed really nice and kind. They asked truth to take a walk with them into the park. Truth, as trusting as she is, decided to go with them. Once they were in the park, the three people began attacking her. They called her names, they spat at her, and finally all three of them beat her up and kicked her face.

Lying on the ground all alone, bleeding and bruised, Wisdom just happened to be walking by. When he saw truth lying on the ground cut up and bleeding, Wisdom felt pity for Truth. So, he picked her up and carried her back to his home. There, he nursed her back to health.

When she was well, Wisdom asked her what happened. Truth told Wisdom about how she wanted to take a walk around town to see the sights and experience what there was to experience. She told him how rude people were; how they ignored her, closed their doors to her, and how some people ran away from her. She finally told Wisdom about the three people who asked her to take a walk in the park. As she described the three people punching her and kicking her, Wisdom began to understand.

It’s because of your beauty, Wisdom said. It’s because you are truth. People cannot handle pure truth. Of you they are afraid and fear for their lives. Why that is, I do not know. But….they are afraid nonetheless.

Truth was very sad. What can I do, she wondered? I want to be loved, I want to be respected. I want people to know me.

Wisdom agreed. He felt people should know her too. She was, after all, very beautiful and very kind.

So Wisdom thought for a moment. Then, he thought some more. He thought a little more. Then, he thought even more. Finally, after thinking and thinking and thinking, he realized the answer.

He opened his closet, reached in and grabbed a beautiful patchwork coat. It had purple patches, blue patches, yellow patches and red patches stitched all over it. When Truth saw it, she gasped.

It’s beautiful, she exclaimed.

I know, replied Wisdom. This is one of my favorite coats, and I’m going to give it to you. The coat is called Story. Whenever you go out outside, whenever you are around people, I want you to promise me that you will wear this coat.

Um, okay, said Truth. But why?

You’ll see. Wisdom said, as he placed Story around her shoulders.

Then Wisdom said, I want you to go back into town. Walk around, and see what happens.

At first, Truth was scared. But she agreed to trust Wisdom.

As she stepped into the town square, she was quickly amazed. From everywhere people began walking toward her. On their faces were smiles, and in their eyes were sparkling lights. Men, women and children came and sat at her feet. Old people, young people, everyone asked her to come to their home and eat dinner with them. Truth could not believe what was happening. Even the three people who had harmed her a few days before, were there listening to her as she spoke.

For here stood naked Truth clothed in Story, once rejected and now acceptable to all.

Learning to tell truth under the clothing of story will influence more powerfully than the naked truth will ever be able to achieve!

--This story was adapted from an old Jewish Parable.