Analyzing Persuasion Through Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Drew Dudley's TED Talk - Free Report

Published: 2023-12-11
Analyzing Persuasion Through Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Drew Dudley's TED Talk - Free Report
Essay type:  Reflective essays
Categories:  Leadership analysis Communication Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1198 words
10 min read


Over the years, the structure of a good oral argument has been passed from one generation to the other. According to Aristotle, who was a Greek philosopher, there are three main elements in any spoken and written communication. Over the years, these elements have come to be referred to as the modes of persuasion. These communication elements are used to get an audience to listen to what an individual has to say. The extent to which a person draws on each of these elements highly depends on the current situation. This paper does a comprehensive analysis of a TED talk titled Everyday Leadership presented by Drew Dudley in 2010. To effectively achieve its purpose, the paper focuses on three modes of persuasion; ethos, pathos, and logos which Dudley used in the talk. The paper also presents a reaction to the TED talk.

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Ethos, as an element of speech, refers to an individual’s ability to establish authority to speak on the subject presented. In other words, ethos presents an opportunity for someone to convince his/her audience about his/her credibility as a speaker or a writer. While there is some built-in ethos, others would require one to work to establish them. One good way to build ethos is by using logical responsibility and appeals to emotions. Moreover, ethos can also be built by the use of credible sources. For intake by when one uses an expert’s opinion and research in his/her speech or writing, he/she is likely to get to use that expert’s ethos and build their own.

In the TED talk, Drew Dudley uses ethos when he quotes an expert in his speech. He says, “Marianne Williamson said, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not the darkness that frightens us.” At the beginning of his speech, Drew Dudley starts by asking his audience if they consider themselves leaders. He then goes further and uses ethos when he tells them that he has been going around the country asking people that same question. By saying this, it gives him credibility since the audience knows that he has interacted with many people while discussing the topic of leadership. Like his current audience, a huge portion of his previous audience never put up their hands when asked that same question. This clearly shows that Drew Dudley is alert and pays attention to his audience.


Pathos, as the second element of speech, refers to the attempts a speaker or writer makes to sway the emotions of his/her audience. Generally, pathos is used as an appeal to the audience's emotions. Any time a speaker or a writer's work has some form of emotional impact on the audience, then pathos would be at play. There are many ways in which a speaker or writer can appeal to the emotions of his audience. For instance, by making the audience cry, showing outrage, and/or making jokes. It is possible for even the most objective speech or writing to contain elements of ethos. Some of the most common ways speakers or writers achieve pathos are when they use imagery, charged tones, dictions that are emotionally charged, and rely on values of implied meanings. Additionally, using emotion-evoking examples can as well induce pathos.

In Drew Dudley's TED talk, pathos is used when Dudley uses an emotionally charged story. He tells his audience how he once went to a little school known as Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. On his last day three, a young lady approached him and thanked him for playing a key role in her life. Although Drew Dudley could not remember the exact occurrences of how he made the girl stay at the university rather than go back home, he subconsciously affected someone's life to a positive. Drew Dudley uses this emotional story to make his audience understand why there is a need to change their leadership thoughts and perceptions.


The third element of speech, logos, refers to a speaker’s or writer’s logical argument of his/her point. In other words, everything a speaker or writer uses logical reasons such as syllogism and causal explanations, then they are said to be using logos. Not all attempts for logic would persuade. There are instances when a speaker or writer is guilty of some logical fallacies. At other times, the logic presented might be sound, but the audience does not trust the source. In other instances, the audience would find the reasoning heartless or cold. One would cite some authorities, use statistics, literal and historical analogies, and/or make use of syllogisms to use logos. Another effective way to apply logos is by using advanced, abstract, or theoretical language.

In the TED talk, Drew Dudley makes use of logos by presenting a statistical finding of a question he has been asking people all over the country. He says, “I have asked that question all across the country, and everywhere I ask it, no matter where, there is a huge portion of the audience that will not put up their hand.” Using such logic supports his argument that people have made leadership appear unteachable or cannot be achieved. According to Drew, most people he has met with consider leadership to be beyond them. Leadership, as most people perceive, is all about changing the world. Logos can also be applied by citing some well-known figures in society. Drew cites Marianne Williamson while arguing for his audience to get over their fear of how powerful they can be in other people’s lives.

Judgment of the Speaker's Argument

One thing to take away from Drew Dudley’s TED talk is that everyone has the potential to be a leader. Drew Dudley is right when he states that people's main hindrance is that they have over-glorified leadership to be something unique thing. This explanation is correct since most people believe in them that leadership is meant for powerful individuals, extroverted, confident, and charismatic. This wrongful view of leadership has made society consider leadership a state where a person holds a powerful position. Such a wrongful definition of leadership has made the right people miss a leadership position. Furthermore, the wrong definition has also led the wrong people to hold a leadership positions.

The worst thing an organization can do to itself is to not cultivate leadership abilities in each of its employees. An organization run by an individual who refuses to cultivate growth and does not promote his employees' intrinsic motivation may be slow to come to its end. As Drew Dudley states, there is a need to redefine the meaning of leadership. To do this, people ought to determine the first step in growing leadership. While there might be no true definition of leadership due to its universal nature, one aspect of great leaders is that they have the vision and understanding driving them. Just as Drew Dudley puts it, the first step to growing leadership should come from people’s recognition of those small acts. These small acts are what change the way other people envision the world.

Works Cited

Dudley, Drew. "Everyday Leadership". Ted.Com, 2020, Accessed 10 Sept 2020.

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Analyzing Persuasion Through Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Drew Dudley's TED Talk - Free Report. (2023, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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