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Best Methods and Techniques to Persuade Your Viewers

how to persuade your audience effectively

It is in human nature to want others to see things our way. That is why people have been trying to persuade each other from the dawn of time. OK, maybe not that long, but you get the point. If you’ve ever tried to persuade someone (and you most certainly have), you know very well how often those attempts backfire. So what do you do when persuading others becomes your everyday job as a video content creator or a marketer? Don’t worry! Persuasion is a skill that can be learned, but it requires time and effort. So if you are interested in learning how to persuade your audience effectively, you’re in the right place! 

Using Rhetoric to Persuade Your Viewers

“Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.”

Plato

We know that Plato’s definition of rhetoric sounds oppressive, but there is much more to it than that. Rhetoric has existed for well over 2.5 millennia, and it is the study (and art) of writing and speaking persuasively. Although Plato emphasized conflict in his definition of rhetoric, the primary purpose of this art of persuasion is not negative. Rhetoric aims to educate, inform, and persuade or motivate one’s audience.

We have to acknowledge that rhetoric is, in a way, a double-edged sword since it can be abused. But we’re not going to do that here (and we advise against doing that yourself). Our focus will be to show you how you can use rhetoric as a tool to come across as more persuasive. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Now, let’s begin with the basics!

The Three Appeals

When recording your video, your goal is to change your audience’s point of view or simply reinforce your current stance on something in their minds, right? So what is the best way for a speaker to do that? The answer is simple — by using the three modes of persuasion, aka rhetorical appeals. Incorporating these modes in your videos will help you persuade your audience effectively and with greater ease. But what are these three appeals? Let’s find out!

Ethos — Ethical Appeal 

The purpose of every speech, presentation, or advertising video is to capture your audience’s attention and persuade them of something. But what is essential for any such attempt? Establishing credibility!

Are your viewers just supposed to take your word for anything you say? No, and they won’t. That is why appealing to ethos is the first step toward becoming more persuasive. In essence, ethos is what shows your audience that the speaker is knowledgeable on the topic they’re talking about.

OK, but how do you establish ethos? It’s not that challenging, so here’s some advice:

  • Promote yourself in front of your audience (Are you a CEO? — say it; Do you have a few publications to your name? — list them.).
  • Illustrate how you’re applying your own advice using personal stories.
  • If you’re using facts or quotes to build your credibility, make sure they’re from reliable sources.
  • Always present both sides of the argument.
  • Don’t be biased (learn to agree to disagree with peers).
  • Never go back on your promises.

And don’t forget to appeal to ethos at the beginning of every video!

Pathos — Emotional Appeal

Humans are emotional creatures, which is why appealing to their emotions is an excellent way to make them more likely to accept your opinions or act upon your requests. In essence, pathos is precisely that — using emotions to build a connection with your audience. So how can you best appeal to pathos? Here are a few handy ways:

  • Use emotionally charged language that resonates with your audience (analogies and metaphors are an effective way to add impact to your language).
  • Make sure the emotions you’re evoking fit your context (positive feelings for your claims, negative for your rivals’).
  • Visual aids are a potent way of illustrating your points and getting an emotional response.
  • Telling your viewers a story is a fantastic way to create an emotional connection with them.
  • Hint at a positive future if they follow your proposed course of action.

The best way to approach appealing to pathos is to spread your appeals out throughout your video. So don’t forget to plan your video carefully before recording!

Logos — Logical Appeal

As the name suggests, logos represents your appeal to logic by relying on your viewers’ intelligence and by providing tangible evidence to support your point of view. The reason logos is an integral part of any successful persuasive speech is because it’s essential for persuading your audience effectively. It presents you as knowledgeable and credible. Also, cold, hard facts are impossible to ignore in any conversation. Here are a few easy ways to appeal to logos:

  • Use comprehensive language (if your viewers have trouble understanding you, your efforts won’t have the desired effect. Use visuals like tables and charts to illustrate your points better).
  • Include the opposing perspective, disambiguate it, and prove why yours is superior.
  • Make sure your arguments are logical.
  • Be direct and specific (leave no room for misinterpretation).
  • Cite credible sources and industry experts.

As you might have already concluded, logos is best used in combination with ethos. However, don’t forget to incorporate it into other aspects of your video too! After all, logos is an essential part of every successful persuasion, so don’t forget to appeal to it!

Tips to Remember When Trying to Persuade Your Audience

Let’s give you a few tips that could help you persuade your audience before we wrap up. Here’s how you can further improve your persuasiveness:

Assess and Identify With Your Audience

Varying types of audiences require different approaches to your persuasion techniques. That is why you must identify your target audience and figure out the best way to resonate with it. Are you targeting primarily young folk? Are your viewers predominantly male or female? What is the average age of your audience? What about their education level?

These are all vital questions to ask yourself so that you could adapt your strategy. It’s best to give you an excellent example of how different techniques are better suited for different audiences. 

You’d likely be better off using more complex and wow words when trying to persuade a more educated audience. Those people are likely to appreciate a more sophisticated manner of speech. On the other hand, a less-educated audience will be more easily persuaded by using simple, easy-to-understand language. Also, repetition is an effective way of appealing to those kinds of viewers.

Mind Your Body Language

55% of interpersonal communication is nonverbal, which makes body language one of the most important factors of persuasiveness. If you’ve ever watched an inexperienced speaker, you must have immediately noticed it. Why? Probably because of their body language.

When under a lot of stress, people’s bodies tend to cramp up, which is why you mustn’t allow that to happen. Luckily, you have the luxury of shooting a video, so you can always do a second or third take to fix any errors. Overall, here are a few useful body-language tips to follow when you shoot your next video:

  • Maintain eye contact (with the camera)
  • Open up your body language (relax and spread out a bit)
  • Use expansive gestures
  • Smile

These sound simple, don’t they? That’s because they are! We’re sure you won’t need long to accustom yourself to these practices.

Use Rhetorical Devices & Avoid Logical Fallacies

The key to persuading your audience effectively lies in two things: using plenty of rhetorical devices and avoiding logical fallacies. But what are we talking about here? Let us elaborate.

Rhetorical devices are tools that help you in the modes of persuasion mentioned above. They are techniques you can use to make yourself come across as more persuasive. There are too many rhetorical devices to list them all here, so we’ll just give you examples of a few:

  • Allusion (referencing an event, a person, or a work, usually from popular culture)
  • Hyperbole (intentional exaggeration you shouldn’t take literally)
  • Metaphor (a comparison where one object earns the attributes of another one of an entirely different class/level)
  • Personification (giving human attributes to something non-human)
  • Understatement (purposefully making a situation sound less important than it is)

Aside from using rhetorical devices to up your persuasiveness, you must avoid logical fallacies at all costs. These are common logical errors that undermine the logic of your argument. They are most often characterized by a lack of supporting evidence. There are many logical fallacies you should be mindful of, but here are a few of the most well-known ones for reference:

  • Straw Man (oversimplifying an opposing viewpoint and attacking that weakened argument)
  • Red Herring (introducing a second, unrelated and irrelevant topic to avoid addressing the original argument)
  • Ad Hominem (attack of someone’s character instead of their viewpoints and arguments)

Avoid logical fallacies at all costs! They can demolish your odds of persuading someone.

Give Your Viewers a Performance

This tip is pretty self-explanatory — regardless of how well-argued and though-out your video is, if it’s not engaging, it won’t resonate with your viewers. So don’t hesitate to be creative and think outside of the box. Here are a few things you could do to make your persuasive video more exciting:

  • Tell a joke
  • Make a short sketch
  • Tell a funny story
  • Use flashy visuals
  • Mimic what you’re talking about 

Don’t be afraid to experiment! That’s the only way you’ll figure out what format clicks with your viewers.

Are You Ready to Try Your Hand at Persuading Your Audience?

There’s no need to be reluctant. Even though persuading your audience effectively might seem like a daunting task at first, you’ll quickly get used to giving persuasive speeches on camera, and it will become second nature to you! So are you ready to give it a shot? We’re rooting for you!

If you’re interested in more similar reading material, why not check our articles on the best CTAs for videos and best hooks for videos? You can even use some of that advice when creating persuasive videos!

Until next time!

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