Aristotle knew a lot about persuasion. So much, in fact, that he identified the three key things that convince anyone of a new idea: pathos, logos, and ethos.

Pathos is the emotional connection someone feels toward the subject, logos is the logic of what the speaker is saying, and ethos is the credibility of the person doing the talking. Here’s how to use these three ideas to put together a perfect presentation:


Have a great idea that you’re desperate to share with the world.

No one can help you with this, but it’s the first and most important part of any amazing presentation. Passion trumps professionalism: an enthusiastic amature will always be more authentic and compelling than a slick pitch artist. Bring passion with you and you’re more than half finished already, because the audience will feel the emotional impact of your subject by watching how much you care about it. Set up the main beats of your story to be emotional ones, using real stories to evidence your points.

Golden Krishna, arguing that we have too many screens in our world, shows the example of the “Catacombo,” a connected tombstone with a screen on it. By doing this, he accomplishes something remarkable: he makes people feel something while listening to a talk about UX/UI design. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but the implication is clear: even in death we’re no longer free from interfaces. When he’s disgusted by these design choices, we feel disgusted too. When he talks about the possibilities of the future, our imaginations go wild. Find the emotional backbone of your story and give the audience the information they need to feel it too.


Put together a killer deck.

Winning hearts is important, but you won’t get anywhere without minds as well. Combining a talk that sounds enthusiastic and spontaneous with slides that give solid evidence of your points is extremely high impact: it shows passion and preparation.

For help building that argument, try Zach Holman at He has awesome advice to help you at every stage of building your presentation, from finding a place to speak to handling the Q&A when you’re finished.

Now that you’ve got your argument down, you need to give it physical structure. A great deck should be the backbone of your argument: follow these ten steps from TED UX Lead Aaron Weyenberg on how to build a pitch deck and yours will be perfect. His advice is bang-on to the letter.


Use impressive tools.

Ethos is tricky: the credibility of the speaker. We tend to believe people we respect, and disbelieve those we don’t. If you want to be listened to, you must project the impression that you’re someone worth listening to. Your background, credentials, and accomplishments are all important here, but having the right tools is essential. It shows your audience that you take your craft and your ideas seriously, and sets you apart as a speaker. Here are a handful of tools we recommend:

  • The Myo armband. Nothing says “I’m here from the future” like controlling your presentation software touch-free with your hands. Rolling up your sleeves to show off the armband gets people curious and excited; controlling from under your jacket adds to Myo’s magical effect. Either way, Myo helps you grab your audience’s attention and stand out from the herd.

  • A nice Pico Projector. Pico Projectors use Digital Light Processing (DLP) chips and micromirrors to get a bright, high resolution projector into a package that fits in your pocket. They plug straight into your phone or laptop, so you can throw your display onto the wall of a bar, restaurant, home… anywhere. Presenters often head into foreign territory when it’s time to speak, and technical glitches become one of the main things damaging their ethos. Even if the house projector isn’t working, your Pico Projector won’t let you down (and having one for backup shows you mean business).

  • Great software. Options abound, but our favorites are PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Slides, and Adobe Reader. They all do the same basic thing -- payout information one step at a time in a visual way -- so choosing is a matter of preference. Prezi and Google Slides are the best for online sharing, while PowerPoint and Keynote have some powerful features that only offline software can boast. Try them out and see what works for you.

  • A Ubiq Hive. This thing is crazy. Here’s a demo showing off how fast it streams compared to Chromecast. It’s a plug-and-play device that lets you control any T.V. or projector with any Windows, OSX, or iOS device. With a Hive and your phone, you can deliver a wireless presentation on just about any screen.

How do you use pathos, logos, and ethos to strengthen your presentation? Tell us in the comments below.