What is Ethos?

– The question is, what is ethos? And what application does it have for our public speaking skills? We’re going to answer those questions in this video. (intense music) Hello there friends and welcome back. If this is our first time meeting, I’m Alex Lyon and this channel is called Communication Coach. We help emerging leaders with their communication skills. And we’re doing a three part series on ethos, pathos and logos. So, watch out for those other videos. In this video, we’re tackling the concept of ethos and how you can use it to help become a more persuasive and influential public speaker. It’s not just an academic concept. It has practical applications. And be sure to stick around
to the end of the video, I want to recommend a couple of resources for you if you want to
improve your public speaking. So, first of all, I want to say about this term, ethos, that it does not really mean ethics. It looks like it. It sounds like it. But the word ethics is an oversimplified definition of what the word ethos means. It means a whole lot more than that. Ethos is one way, we persuade listeners. Ethos is about whether or not we are appealing to listener’s sense of trust. Their desire to listen
to a credible speaker. Ethos describes then whether or not a speaker is inspiring an audience to trust and believe in him or her. So, really ethos is about the credibility, the perceived credibility of the speaker and whether or not the
listener’s believe that speaker. And it has to do with a whole lot more than just ethics. In fact, we are more
likely to be persuaded by a speaker if we find them credible. So, really this is an appeal, a persuasive appeal to your listeners. It’s not simply about whether or not you’re an honest person. Although that is part
of it, as we will see. So, in terms of breaking this down, I am going to follow
James McCroskey’s lead. He worked for a long time, for decades on the concept
of ethos and credibility. I think credibility, if you boil it down is really the best way to define this, whether or not you find
the speaker believable. And McCroskey talked
about three key dimensions of credibility, that will impact. As you’ll see, you can use these as a speaker right away. The first dimension of credibility is called competence. The audience is asking themselves, is the speaker knowledgeable? And do they have the right
background and expertise on the topic they are speaking about? Can I believe the speaker on this topic? That’s part of credibility. And you can establish your competence in a number of ways, but you make sure, the first way is to
make sure you’re talking about a topic that you know about, that you are experienced with, that you have education
and a background on. That’s the number one way. So, stick to topics, that you know about when you’re speaking. For example, if, tell me if you would have a problem with this, if you were married and you went to marriage class and you find
out there is a speaker, has never been married, there would be a credibility gap there. So, you have to speak as a speaker about what you know. That’s one of the best
ways you can do that. Now, in terms of how to do this during a presentation, there are a number of
ways that you can show that you have competence. One
of the ways you can do it is in how you introduce yourself. You are telling your audience a little bit about your background, probably in your introduction and you want to mention relevant aspects of your education, experience and background that relate to that particular topic and that connect to that
particular audience. How often, we’ll have
someone introduce me, let’s say, I am going to do a workshop or speak somewhere. And they give them a card
with some bullet points on it, so when they introduce me, they hit on some of the topics that will answer the
question of competence. Some people talk about the way you dress and the way you come across visually and I think that has an impact on whether or not you
come across as competent. I don’t think it’s going
to make a key difference but if you dress well, then people won’t be distracted by it. And if you dress really sloppy, they will. So, you want to make sure your dress is appropriate for the situations, so that you look the part, so to speak. The next dimension of
credibility is character. The audience does want to
know if you are trustworthy. Can I trust what this person is saying? Do they have good character? And the way you establish
that is by being honest and by sharing good
information that’s true. Another way is by not stretching the truth about any of your
information or statistics. And you also want to be transparent about who you are. And so, I think, in your presentations, one of the tips, that you can do is to practice, is share a little bit about who you are and what your background is that’s a little on the personal side like what are you all about? Be open, in other words about who you are. That will let them in to
trust you a little bit more, that transparency. You never want to come across as if you have some weird, hidden agenda something that is off to the side and you’re not really telling people exactly what’s going on. I actually had an issue once
with my trustworthiness. It was quite an embarrassing moment. In fact, there is a statistic, that I have shared in many presentations over the years, but on
this particular day, I forgot to cite my source. And I guess the way that
I threw it out there seemed too casual. So, when I looked at
the evaluations later, someone marked me down for that and said, “The speaker just shouldn’t
throw statistics out there. You know, we’re never
going to believe that.” It was really a learning experience for me that I have to be open and transparent in a lot of ways, so I
come across as trustworthy. And one of the ways is to really cite my sources
accurately and fully. And I have done that ever
since then, by the way. So, make sure that you
demonstrate trustworthiness. The third dimension of credibility according to McCroskey is caring. You have to demonstrate
goodwill toward your audience. So, they want to know if
you care about people. If you’re going to treat people well, in a friendly and respectful way. If you’re condescending in contrast, if you talk down to your listeners, they’re going to be put off by that. They’re not going to want to hear what you have to say if you’re
not treating people well. And this also goes for how you’re treating the people around the presentations. Sometimes there might be a helper, like an administrative
person who’s helping or someone who’s helping
with the equipment. And your listener’s are going to watch how you interact with
those people, as well, and see and determine if
you’re a caring person, if you have goodwill toward people. And I saw a movie scene in Iron Man 2, where there’s a guy who’s speaking. His name is Justin Hammer
and he is a bad character in this movie. He’s not a good guy. But when he’s presenting, he’s all smiles and he’s all show, but then as some people
are helping him move the podium, he says
under his breath to them, “Get that thing out of here.” And it’s like this
moment where you realize, oh he’s not credible. He’s has bad ethos. He treats people poorly, even though he is faking that he is a good guy. So, if you can demonstrate competence and character and caring, then you will come across as someone with good credibility, good ethos. Those are really the key components of how to come across with good ethos. And how to convince people that you are a trustworthy source and they don’t have questions about it. So, the key takeaways are one, speak about what you know and stick to that area of expertise. Number two, be open about who you are, so that people can see your character. And third, treat people well, so they can see your goodwill. Now, before we go, I wanted to tell you about a couple of resources that I believe will help you improve
your public speaking. The first one is a download of instant tips to help you become a more confident and
composed public speaker. So, you plug in your email address and I send you that download, that’s a PDF. And the second is a full course that I created called Present Like a Pro. And it’s designed to help you become a top 10 percent speaker in
your professional setting. I will also put a link to
that in the description below. So, check out those resources and see if they might help move you forward. So, question of the day, What are your ways to establish good ethos in a presentation? How do you come across as a credible speaker? What practices do you recommend doing? I look forward to seeing your comments in that section below the video. So, thanks, God bless and I will see you in the next video on pathos.

13 thoughts on “What is Ethos?

  1. – FREE 7 Instant Tips for Confident & Composed Public Speaking
    – Public Speaking Course: Present Like a Pro http://bit.ly/2zmDM2W

  2. Thanks a lot for this it was beneficial. However it came late ,for I had to day an exam in a module called practical communication ;and I can see that it would help me a lot .For my luck


  4. Great explanation and examples. I used it to prepare for Human Communications Final. I am now compelled to watch more videos.

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