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Thursday, May 31, 2012


The prompt took me immediately to "Public Speaking 101" a class I attended as a drop-in student to better help me with my communication skills. I was in no position to pay for college courses and a community college in Flint offered these classes at no charge, no credit given, supplies only basis and I jumped on it. I was looking for the education not the credits. I had no clue what any of those three things were and I had no clue what to do with them or about them. It was the first class and my first EVER college course, when the instructor laid it out on the board. Big letters of what I assumed were Greek words all over the front board.

ethos~speaker's credibility
pathos~emotional connection to your audience
logos~logic of argument

She then explained that if we mastered these three areas, we would be successful speakers. We would be able to win over our audience and impart our message with skill and humor.

Okay, I was in at that point. I got it.

Digressing here for background information~~~~~~~~~~~~
My job as an instructor to hairdressers all over the state of Michigan who were customers of the Nexxus Product Company, required that I speak sometimes to small groups and other times to hundreds of people. I went into salons for one-on-one introduction of our product line and also spoke at corporate meetings to all employees. I held workshops for a dozen or so at a time and I also did huge hair shows in other parts of the country and Canada where I would be the MC to the star cutters and stylists. Sometimes I was the star cutter or stylist. I enjoyed the MCing more. I loved talking to people about my favorite product line and imparting real and usable knowledge to them for everyday use in their careers.
Done digressing, back to class~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The class was only 6 weeks long, twice a week. I loved every minute of it. I gained such basic knowledge and then such incredible confidence, I cannot possibly explain to you how valuable this quick and info packed class was to me. Just learning the ethos, pathos and logos part of speaking to groups made all the difference. It is the basis for all GOOD speech makers.

Now on to how I used this information.

Introducing yourself, which you sometimes are expected to do, is fun. It is the place where you can impart your credibility, your history in their chosen field and your expertise. I used to say I had been a hairdresser since Jesus got his first trim.  Or that my first 'request customer' was Mary. It allowed the audience to chuckle a little and stop guessing how the hell old I was. I gave it to them, very old. It also tells them I might know something about being in a salon and trying to make a living. I then would explain where I had worked and throw in a story or two about the "Unique Client" which every single hairdresser has encountered. A little blue hair humor or maybe the child who requires you to walk 10 miles in circles around your chair while bending at the waist with your head upside down while you get each and every stray hair from this continually moving target. That child's mom will require perfection from you, if not from her child.  "ethos"

My second part of every class (or lecture) would be to talk about product introduction. How do you get your client to want the product you know they need. You identify their need, you offer the product and you hand it to them to read, smell or actually try. You talk about its benefits for THEM and its affordability. You never offer to remove it from their hand.  You continue with your work on the hair or you move on to another product you would love them to use.  The idea being, you give them the product and the information and then allow them to keep it or put it back on the shelf.  Their choice. "pathos"

Now that the client is holding and sort of owning the product, they are more likely to buy it. Good job. Client now owns the product you want them to use because they will be your best advertisement in the world and with the right product and styling knowledge, you will look good.  They will be happy with their look and most likely will buy the product again.

The next step is, a little tougher one, getting the product out of their bathroom closets and onto their hair.

On any return visit to the salon it is imperative to follow up with questions about how the products are performing for them. You have to know if they are using them or not and if not, why not. If the answer is that they had something else to use up, suggesting they use that for the children or the dog is the way to go. Professional products absolutely change the hair on your head. The right product for the right hair equals perfection. Drive it home. Make them 'get' it. Follow through and care about their needs. "logos"

I always ended my classes and lectures with Q and A and learned a great deal about my audience from those. Every class was better than the last because I listened to the questions and made the next class address those. This also added to my "pathos" because I was intuiting their questions and they knew that.

Just for the record...this entire page is equally appropriate to writing. Writing is nothing more than public speaking on paper and your audience is free to click off at any point. You do not have a captive audience when you write, so using these tools will undoubtedly increase your readership and probably your comments.

Now go practice your ethos, pathos and logos and reap the rewards!



  1. Jo-- you laid it out brilliantly. I learned in depth about ethos, pathos, logos in my persuasion course. I was a communications major in college and it was one class I loved. In our class--we had to select a television commercial and explain how each of these-- ethos, pathos, logos was used in the commercial and break it down so to speak. I can not watch commercials without looking for these three appeals any longer.

    Cheers, Jenn.

    1. This was a fun blog, but I admit I had to clear the cobwebs before I could start! lol Teaching and doing hair shows was one of the best and most challenging jobs I ever had and I loved every minute of it. I love lecturing and interacting with my audience and these basics really made it easy for me to write a new class in short order.
      Commercials, huh? Of course, that makes sense. ♥

  2. I took a public speaking class but don't remember this one coming up. I had to google it then twist it into my twisted post. ;)

    1. LOL I guess I better hop on over and check it out! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. you were good to take on this prompt -- I was too stuck. Nice post.

    1. Thanks Sandra...I probably enjoyed remembering this class and this job much more than anyone reading about it enjoyed the telling. :)

  4. Very enlightening. I had joined a Public Speaking Group and learned how to talk in front of people. I had to write the speech, almost memorize it and speak. You brought back those memories to me. I honestly forgot.

    I enjoyed this article and it gave me another aspect of you. I liked it

    1. Thanks Sondra. You have done a lot of things in your life so far...lots more to write about, I bet!

  5. Interesting post, Jo! I looked at this week's topic and though 'huh?' as I'd never seen those three words linked before, so your post has explained them perfectly to me!

    1. Well then, my work here is done! Good for me, helping such an accomplished author look at her writing in a new way.


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