Persuade Your Audience With These 10 Emotional Appeals – Part 1

Modern speakers continue to distill tips from Aristotle’s 2,300-year-old theory of persuasion. Essentially he believed persuasive appeal focuses on the emotional, logical, and credible aspects of your speech.

However, we have seen time-and-time again that emotional appeals have a way of winning hearts and wallets, even when the other two fall short. Persuasive speakers know this and are adept at arousing audience emotion and connecting it with speech elements.

How do you increase emotional or pathos quotient of your speech?


This is basic human need – primal instinct of sorts. Depending on your argument and course of action required by audience, focus on the negative or positive side of this strong emotion.


If the theme is Keeping Your Home, focus on the positives of doing so, or how to achieve this. Give them useful suggestions or advice.

On the other hand, you can link the risk of losing homes to excess debt or poor budgeting. Then show them how to avoid such situations.


The need to belong is strong in humans. Even the shyest person in the room shares this sentiment.

Trigger this emotion by showing them what is missing and how to gain acceptance. Appeal to it by offering to help them. Speak of benefits and advantages of following your course of action.


To encourage ethical shopping, project such buyers as a bunch of game changers or cool spirits who are a class apart.


Everyone wants to feel worthy – appeal to this. If they want more control over a certain area of their personal or professional life. Take advantage of this by utilizing an emotional hook. Show the audience how this benefit them – promotions, better jobs or relationship success.


If you’re trying to sell a course or coaching session, take advantage of this innate need by showing them that this is the first step on their journey toward a better life. Tony Robbins does this fantastically.


Empathy and compassion are innate in humans. Appeal to their empathetic side by drawing on an image of a particular person or group who are suffering but deserve better.


Charities use this to great effect. If you’re raising funds for cancer patients, tell a vivid story of one such individual who needs the audience’s support to get better.


Guilt is a powerful motivator that can trigger action against the status quo or encourage contribution to a cause. Guilt is elicited when in the company of authenticity.


As with compassion, charities are very good at evoking this. ‘Why wouldn’t you contribute when it’s only $1 a day to help feed a starving child’. Along with strong visual imagery, use voice and body language to convey feelings of remorse over the event or situation you’re discussing.

Stay tuned for the next set of emotional appeals you can use in your speech.

Do you prefer logic or authority over feelings?


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