Three Elements of Persuasion - Ethos, Pathos, logos

Published: Jan 24, 2019
Modified: Apr 09, 2024

By Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy suggests that you can Speak to Win in his AMACOM book. The secret lies in following the advice of Aristotle, breaking down the essential elements of persuasion into three parts: (1) logos or logic, (2) ethos or ethic, and (3) pathos or emotion.


Logos refers to the logic, the words, and the reasons in your argument. Says Tracy, “It is important that everything that you say fits together like links in a chain or pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to form a coherent statement or argument. When you think through and plan your talk, you organize your various points in a sequence from the general to the particular, from the start to the conclusion, with each point building on each previous point to form a persuasive argument.”


The second aspect of persuasion—ethos—refers to your character, ethics, and your believability when you speak. Increasing your credibility with your audience before and during your speech increases the likelihood that listeners will accept your arguments and take action on your recommendations.

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Pathos is the emotional content of your presentation and is likely the most important. It is only when you move people at an emotional level that you can motivate them to change their thinking and take a particular action.

Tracy writes in his book, “All three elements—logos, ethos, and pathos—must be woven together if you want to move people and persuade them to your viewpoint.”

Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from Speak to Win: How to Present with Power in Any Situation by Brian Tracy. Copyright 2008, Brian Tracy.

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About the Author(s)

Brian Tracy is the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. One of the top business speakers and authorities in the world today, he has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide. He has written 65 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success.