Aristotle’s logos, ethos, and pathos stands the test of time.
If you want your boss (or community members) to support you and come around to your way of thinking, you need to have credibility (ethos), have a logical argument (logos), and leverage their emotions (pathos).
You might believe getting internal support is a logos problem. If you present the right numbers to the right person at the right time, you get the support you need. The reality is if you don’t have strong credibility or a persuasive argument, you still won’t gain the support.
Take a look at this story below.
Even if it includes photos of ‘classified documents’, I’m betting you still don’t believe it. You either don’t recognise the source or you’ve already made up your mind.
This is the complex reality of getting internal support. A coherent data-driven argument isn’t enough if you lack a strong reputation or can’t tell a good story supported by data.
This means a huge chunk of your work is good old-fashioned relationship building. It’s setting up meetings with people throughout the organization and learning about their problems. It’s asking their opinion about your work. It’s supplying them with sustained value over time to build a relationship that equips you with credibility. That’s the ethos.
And it’s about using your data to tell persuasive stories. These are stories rooted in emotions like fear, hope, and love. Stories about fear especially work well. What happens if a competitor creates a community first? What happens if you can get your biggest clients to become customers for life? What happens if you can prevent making costly marketing mistakes by testing ideas in a community first? That’s your pathos.
You need the data, for sure, but it’s just one part of the trifecta. Getting support isn’t about a single meeting. It’s everything you do before you enter the meeting. The relationships you’ve built and the persuasive stories you’ve learned to tell.
I really wish we shifted the discussion away from data and towards building credibility and telling persuasive stories.