There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 3)

Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. After working with numerous Life Science and Biotech clients, we’ve observed that many biotech executives are ill-prepared for delivering their companies essential messagesduring a formal presentation.

This blog post, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to catch up first before you read this post. This post, Part 3, explains the third and final persuasion tool when you need to convince someone to do, think, say, or approve.

Before we dive in, it should be noted that most people naturally lean towards a specific mode of persuasion. You might prefer Ethos, (I’ve worked/researched/ completed/) or Pathos (Can you imagine/ what if we could/ here is an example of). This self- analysis is an effective way to determine if you steer towards a particular style of communication.

Now, we will finally uncover the third and final mode of persuasion. The method of persuasion highlighted in this post is usually either met with a response of “Yes, of course, this approach is pivotal” or “Nope, this does not persuade me, and now I dislike you a little.”

Tool #3- How to Persuade Someone: Logos

Logos is Logic. Think of professions where logos is expected; perhaps an accountant, engineer, or surgeon. We assume these types of professionals use sound logic to make their most important decisions. It might raise alarm bells if your heart surgeon strolls in the morning of surgery and says, “You know, I was going to perform your quadruple bypass today, and I did tell you that if you didn’t get this surgery you would have only three weeks to live, but I’m feeling like between the full moon, the fight I had with my assistant last night and the fact that I’m just a little grouchy today, that maybe we should reschedule this surgery for next month?” This surgeon needs more logos and less…crazy?

Logic carries weight. Proof is a substantial factor when making a decision, which is why we love “Before and After” pictures of living rooms, overweight people, haircuts, makeovers, anti-aging creams, cloudy windows, celebrity airbrushing, and dirty carpets. Applying no-nonsense logic seems like an excellent way to persuade someone of something because you can show cold, hard facts and evidence. We know A + B + C. When using logic to convince someone, you are giving the expected progression of events.

For many people in the biotech world, logic is their default way to convince and persuade during presentations. At times, using logic to explain and persuade can be a very effective way to show your credibility, organizational skills, and high-level perspective. You can use logic to:

  • Make sense of how your product works
  • Provide coherence between where you are and where you are going
  • Explain the connection between two data points
  • Uncover the relationship between your goals and the investment you are looking for
  • Highlight data to prove you are on the right track
  • Demonstrate the practicality of your product in the market

These logical persuasion techniques are solid, and they work. Unfortunately, if you only use logic in an investor pitch, you will have made a grave error. Yes, investors want to know they are making a sound decision financially, but they also care about the passion in your pitch. Why does your product matter to humanity?  How will it change lives? Why is this an exciting time to invest in your company? People are creatures of emotion, and if you only use logic in a presentation or pitch, you will not make the impact required to get what you need. Think of this quote from Edward de Bono, “Logic will never change emotion or perception.”

Find ways to make a logical presentation but also have a sense of emotional drive behind it. When we hear the word logic, we tend to equate it with a serious undertone, but they do not have to go hand in hand. One of my favorite logical quotes has a humorous spirit:

“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you’ll be a mile from them, and you’ll have their shoes.” Jack Handey

Which Mode of Persuasion is Most Effective: Ethos, Pathos, or Logos?

The answer you’ve been waiting for: the number one way to persuade someone…

If you’ve read all three of the blogs in this series, you are probably curious as to which approach works best, particularly in an investor pitch.

The answer is…all of them.

The best presentations have all three appeals in them, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Ethos provides credibility, Pathos provides emotion, and logic provides logic.The best presentations utilize all three modes of persuasion. Examine your companies’ previous pitches or presentations and determine where you might have overlooked applying one or all three methods of persuasion.

To build your rhetoric arsenal, explain Aristotle’s words to your team before your next investor pitch:

“The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.”

Easy enough! All three modes of persuasion are equally important. It will take practice to understand how to implement all three methods into one presentation. All of the Executive Communication Coaches here at The Speech Improvement Company are happy to jump on a call to talk you through it. Every presentation holds the opportunity to hone your modes of persuasion, and it gets easier once you reap the success that comes from a well-organized and persuasive pitch.

This is the last of a three-part series.

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on the tools of persuasion.

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