Pathos In Public Speaking: What Is It and How to Use It? (Top 5 Tips)

In public speaking, there are three rhetorical modes that you can use to convince your audience: logos, ethos, and pathos. What is the difference between these? Logos is used for logical and rational appeals while ethos is for moral authority along with your credibility and character. What about pathos?

What does it mean to use pathos in public speaking and how do you improve your presentations with this rhetorical mode?

Pathos uses emotion in order to persuade your audience. It’s all about connecting with them on a personal level and convincing them of a certain idea or concept through their feelings rather than facts. In this article, we will explore what the role of pathos in public speaking actually is and why it’s important!

First of all, let’s take a look at what exactly the role of pathos in public speaking actually is. Pathos can be described as an appeal that uses emotions like empathy or sympathy for example. It seeks to influence people by making them feel something about the topic instead of just informing them on facts.

Please note an example of Pathos in the speech below:

The idea behind using this rhetorical device is that we are more likely convinced when we connect emotionally to someone rather than simply hearing their logical argument without any emotional input from us. Logically stating why you think certain ideas should come into play may get our attention but if there is no emotional connection, people may not actually agree with you.

What’s more is that according to a study on public speaking and brain activity, there are two different areas in the brain that light up when someone hears an argument: one of them being activated by pathos while the other one gets stimulated by logos. This shows us how important it is to have both ethos and pathos in public speaking working together for effective persuasion!

5 Tips to Persuade with Pathos

A woman trying to Persaude her audience with Pathos

In order to improve your presentations with this rhetorical mode, there are a few things you can do!

  1. Try connecting with your audience right from the beginning of your talk through jokes or personal stories. If they feel connected to you as a person then they will be much more likely follow along throughout what you have to say.
  2. Make sure that your arguments are actually backed up by emotion. Don’t just state facts without any feeling behind it- this will only make your argument weaker. Instead, try to evoke emotions in your audience by using powerful words and images that will connect with them on a personal level.
  3. Use body language effectively . Gestures and facial expressions can be very powerful tools when trying to communicate pathos to your listeners. If you can get them to feel what you’re feeling through your movements, they will be more likely to agree with you.
  4. Be patient ! It may take some time for your audience to connect with what you’re saying so don’t give up if they don’t react immediately. Keep presenting your arguments in an emotional way until they eventually start to feel it too! A great way to show patience are by using strategic pauses in your speech. A well timed paused between an important part in a story or when making a point can effectively elicit emotion.
  5. Be aware of the tone of your voice . A sad or angry tone can easily turn people off and make them less likely to listen to you. Instead, try to keep a balanced tone throughout your talk and ensure that your emotions don’t get too carried away. However, make sure your tone reflects the words coming out of your mouth.
Example of Vocal Ranges

By using these simple techniques as well as knowing how important it is to use both ethos and pathos together for effective public speaking, you’ll be able to harness the power of emotional rhetoric more effectively than ever before!

What’s more?

People are much more likely to follow along with an argument when it’s backed up by emotion rather than just facts alone so this means that they may even be persuaded into thinking differently about certain things or modifying their previous beliefs after listening closely to your presentation. That being said, go out there and start using pathos to improve your speeches today!

Improve Pathos In Your Public Speaking Today!

For help to either develop into a ‘World Class’ public speaker or just improve your public speaking skills overall, please check out the article ‘Online Resources for Public Speaking‘ for a detailed review of some online resources for public speaking.


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Posted in  Public Speaking Topics   on  December 10, 2021 by  Dan W ,   Pathos In Public Speaking: What Is It and How to Use It? (Top 5 Tips)

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