Persuasion is a useful tool, whether you are presenting a doctoral thesis or you just want to convince your husband to buy new carpet for the family room. Knowing the six types of persuasion and how they factor in to presenting --- and winning --- your case is important. They are: ethos, pathos, logos, statistics, deliberation and refutation.


Ethos is used to demonstrate good character and credentials. The persuasion lies in the power and authority of the speaker. Classical orators used ethos, not to convince, but to fasten the already established rightness of their cause in the minds of their listeners.


Having established character and credentials, the second type of persuasion is pathos. This is when a speaker (or crafty wife) uses her listener's emotions to further cement her case.


Logos, the third type of persuasion, is the proof of the speech or point being made. Logos is persuasion by words, not hard evidence. It's a presentation that convinces the listener the conclusion given is the right one for the occasion (sort of like having the right answer all along).


A more advanced method is the fourth type, statistics. This builds on the oratory of the Greek philosophers, while adding in more advanced science, or what we call "hard data." Statistics support an argument with a different sort of logos. The key is differentiating between statistics and facts, and how to use them. Many positions are supported by the term "studies show," when often the numbers taken from a study to support a particular cause or point do not actually represent the overall point of the study.


Deliberation is one of the two types of persuasion in speech advocated by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. Also known as legislative speech, this type of persuasion is an attempt to answer questions of policy or questions of value, and to prioritize problems and proposed solutions.


Counterpoint to deliberation is refutation. One form of refutation is the rebuttal speech. To rebut is to overcome the opposition's argument by introducing other evidence that reduces the appeal of the opposition's claim. The other form is the refutation speech. This differs from the rebuttal speech because it does seek to prove the opposition's argument is wrong, or false, but instead it focuses on the faulty reasoning or lack of support provided by the opposition speaker.