After reading the prompt, I was reminded of one of the worst speeches I have ever heard. This speech takes place at at about thirty eight minutes and fifty seconds into the 2014 meeting Tesla share holders meeting. The speech consists of a man attempting to convince Tesla CEO Elon Musk that he should be brought on as the Vice Chairman of the company or possibly the future CEO. After reviewing the study materials, I believe that the reason this speech was so unpersuasive was because the speaker did not know his audience and because the speech was almost entirely a pathos appeal. First, the speaker essentially interrupted the meeting for self promotion. The meeting was intended for shareholders to discuss the progress of the company they had invested in. It was not meant for the interjection of new ideas by the audience, especially not for self promotion. Secondly, the speech is almost entirely reliant on a pathos appeal. The only argument made that would not be considered a pathos appeal was when the speaker describer himself as a “super genius” and an overlooked “great mind of this generation”. The ethos appeal was entirely made up of opinions and did not provide any credible reason why the speaker is qualified for the positions they are requesting to serve in. Beyond this the speech was entirely a pathos appeal with the speaker becoming emotional and failing to lay out any legitimate credentials or logic reason why they should be the Vice Chairman of the company. This is obviously an extreme example of a speech gone wrong however, I think it highlights what can happen when a speech is horribly constructed. Pathos can be used in many instances where the listeners needs to be prompted to act or made to be sympathetic however this was not the case. If this speech was made at a different time, and relied on great logical arguments about the future of the company and was backed up by proven experience, it may have been more effective.
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YouTube. (2014). Tesla Motors 2014 Shareholder Meeting Part 1. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDwEFvOh9co&t=2333s.
The balance found when using Pathos, Ethos, and Logos in persuasive speaking is that when using all three aspects it is significantly easier to persuade the audience. When using all three aspects the speaker is connecting with the reader, emotionally and logically while explaining why the speaker is credible or should be listened to in the first place. There are many speeches in which logos is the main aspect and still makes for a very persuading speech. an example of this is Susan B. Anthony’s speech ‘A Women’s Right to the Suffrage’ in 1873. Susan Anthony is mainly utilizing logos by making claims on the women’s right to vote, in which she uses the United States Constitution as her evidence. This speech provided the audience with American documents to show how logical her speech was, in which she did not need to utilize pathos or ethos.
A speech that utilized more of an emotional sense was conducted after 9/11 by President George Bush. In 2001, President Bush addressed the country in is his’ 9/11 Address to the Nation’ utilizing pathos as the main aspect to connect with Americans after a tragedy occurred. In his speech, Bush inspired citizens to unite as a country and to trust their government. Another Presidential speech was made, but by a former president, Donald Trump, that mislead the audience and lost impact with his research. Out of many of his misleading speeches, his ‘Election Fraud’ speech in 2020 made false claims about there being an election fraud of which he had “overwhelming evidence.” (Trump 2020).
National Center, (2001, November 3) ‘Susan B. Anthony On a Women’s Right to Vote-1873’ National Center For Public Policy Research
Susan B. Anthony on a Woman’s Right to Vote – 1873
US National Archives, ( 2015 September 25) ‘Address to Nation on Terrorist Attacks, 9/11/2001
Trump, Donald (2020 December) Election Fraud. Retrieved from https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-on-election-fraud-claims-transcript-december-2
◄ Logos, Pathos and Ethos Persuasive Elements
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