Balancing logic and emotion

Balancing logic and emotion

Balancing logic and emotion


Aristotle coined the 3 pillars of influence as Ethos (credibility appeal), Logos (logical appeal), and Pathos (emotional appeal). Let’s start with logical appeal. This part of your presentation deals with design elements, both visual and verbal, that help your audience recall your main message and your supporting points.

Imagine this as the road map of your message. You want your audience to know where the final destination is, and how they will get there. Here are a few questions to help you navigate your design. Does your presentation hook tie back to the close? Is your theme verbally mentioned throughout the presentation? For example, Katy’s presentation theme is credibility. It’s the anchor of all her points and she brings it up, both in the intro and the close. Are your main points logically sequenced with smooth transitions between them? So, do you review Point A, you link it to Point B, you preview what Point B is about, and then you start discussing it? Do all your main points have solid evidence behind them? Even if you’re presenting to inform versus to persuade, you want to show you have knowledge and that you’ve done your homework on the research.

Your logical appeal will be stronger with evidence involving statistics, studies, graphs, surveys, all coming from relevant, recent, and credible sources. Finally, what’s the next step? After you’ve reviewed your main points, wrap up the logical appeal of your message by lining up next steps, or additional resources. For our Kinetiko example, Katy can do a few things. She can have a country expert that the executive team can contact as they proceed to make connections there.

She can also find a few suppliers for Kinetiko to contact, then start building relationships with. She can research a US industry expert for Kinetiko to partner with as they enter Brazil. For your presentation, similar information in the close will increase your presentation’s logical appeal, and make you a sought-out speaker for the organization. Now let’s discuss emotional appeal. Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” This is, by far, the most telling of Aristotle’s quotes when it comes to presentations.

He speaks directly to the need for balance of logic and emotion, but emphasizes on the latter. As you plan for your upcoming presentation, consider these ways of educating the heart. Show emotion. Tone, body language, and overall energy have to show a high level of interest and enthusiasm for your topic. I referenced Albert Morabian’s research on non-verbals earlier in this course. The majority of your message will come across in your body language and tone of voice.

Choose an open, tall stance. Use large gestures. Maintain eye contact, and even lean towards the audience showing interest and connection. Vary your voice inflection as you tell a story, or you describe a scene. Change your volume to get attention, either high or low. Play with the rate of speech. Speaking fast is not always a bad thing. It communicates energy, but knowing when to pause, and knowing when to slow down is a gift.

Make sure you speak with conviction. Use a positive tone, and always show energy and confidence in your topic. Although emotion is important, always consider the context of your audience and match the appropriate intensity of emotion. One last note on showing emotion has to do with your facial expression. Depending on your comfort level, feel free to be animated. If you’re talking about surprise, show it. Fear, show it. Concern, do the same.
As we’ve learned, meaning is translated faster in non-verbals. If face and body don’t show the words, you’ll never be able to reach your audience’s heart. Speak emotion. Use captivating stories. Choose one that you’ve experienced or ones that you lately read about in the news. Always connect the stories back to the central theme, helping your listeners follow along. If a story doesn’t come to mind, use a vivid example.

Choose your language wisely, finding words that are visually engaging and alive. For example, there’s a difference between describing a person as polite versus relentlessly pleasant, or a firm handshake versus a vigorous handshake, or a mean-spirited comment versus a vitriolic one. With both stories and examples, always gauge the audience and find examples that will speak their language.

In my case, the examples I use with a group of executives will not resonate for a group of my college students. Use language tools that will make your content engaging. Winston Churchill was the father of powerful language, and he used tools such as alliteration, “Pitching the Perfect Proposal” as a title I’ve used for a presentation, or repetition. I chose a topic that would be interesting, I chose a topic that would be engaging, I chose a topic that would be relevant to you.

I’d probably use that as an introduction to a speech and get in a preview at the same point. Antithesis. My favorite Winston Churchill quote was one he said during World War II. “Greeks do not fight like heroes; heroes fight like Greeks.” And, of course, humor and wit; that is if you’re comfortable, and if it is appropriate for the context of your presentation. Make a list of ways you can add logic and emotion to your content as you wrap up the organization stage of your presentation.

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