aristotle-model-of-communication

Aristotle Model of Communication In A Nutshell

The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. The Aristotle model of communication was developed by the Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed the linear model to demonstrate the importance of the speaker and their audience during communication. It comprises three key elements: Ethos (the speaker’s degree of credibility or authority), Pathos (the ability of the speaker to form an emotional bond with the audience), and Logos (the literal meaning of the word logos is logic).

Understanding the Aristotle model of communication

Despite its ancient origins, the Aristotle model of communication will always be relevant since public speaking is an evergreen skill that is always in demand.

Public speakers today must be able to persuade or convince their audiences, something Aristotle called rhetoric. 

To achieve this, the speaker organizes the speech before delivering it according to the audience and the situation at hand.

This makes the Aristotle model both linear and speaker-centric, with the audience taking on a passive role in the communication process.

Indeed, while the audience can be influenced by the speaker, the model does not account for the audience interacting with the speaker via feedback.

The five components of the Aristotle model of communication

The Aristotle model of communication comprises five key components:

Speaker

The individual tasked with persuading or convincing an audience through their speech.

In theory, this is achieved through careful word selection, appropriate body language, eye contact, and verbal modulation.

Speech

The message the speaker is delivering to the audience.

Audience

The people who passively listen to the speech as it is delivered.

Effect

The effect may be positive or negative, depending on how persuasive the speaker may be. 

Occasion

Or the situation responsible for bringing people together. When a politician speaks to a group of people, the occasion may be an imminent election.

The three elements of a good public speaker

Given that the model is focused on the speaker, Aristotle also described three elements that must be present in a good communicator or orator. 

They include:

Ethos

The speaker’s degree of credibility or authority. A speaker with no credibility will not be trusted by the audience, no matter how moral their intentions are.

Ethos can be bolstered by using appropriate language and referencing information from competent and trusted experts.

It is also important to only draw logical conclusions and avoid simple errors when making an argument.

Pathos

The ability of the speaker to form an emotional bond with the audience. Speakers who connect with the emotional environment of the room build trust and become more persuasive.

To build pathos, the speaker can incorporate visual materials that invoke appropriate emotions.

They can also begin the talk with a story demonstrating their knowledge or experience of the relevant emotional issues. 

Logos

The literal meaning of the word logos is logic. In the context of Aristotle’s model, however, logos refers to the way in which facts and figures are used during communication to support particular statements.

For example, a city councilor claiming crime rates rose under the previous administration must present the relevant data to verify their claims.

The most skilled communicators will also examine and prepare for possible counterarguments. 

Aristotle vs. transactional model of communication

transactional-model-of-communication
The transactional communication model describes communication as a two-way, interactive process within social, relational, and cultural contexts. The transactional model of communication is best exemplified by two models. Berglund’s model describes communication as a complex, multi-layered process where the feedback from the sender becomes the message for the receiver. Dance’s helical model is another example that suggests communication is continuous, dynamic, evolutionary, and non-linear.

Whereas Aristotle’s communication model focuses on public speaking by relating it to five core elements: speaker, speech, audience, effect, and occasion.

Based on three elements of a proper communication style: ethos, pathos, and logos.

The transactional model of communication is highly contextual, and it focuses on three specific contexts: relational (interpersonal history and type of relationship a person has with another person), cultural, and social.

Thus the difference between the transactional model of communication stands in the way it conceptualizes the flow of information and allows for context with respect to the Aristotle’s model of communication.

Aristotle’s model of communication examples

Interested in learning how Aristotle’s model of communication applies the modern contexts? If so, we have listed some examples below.

Political speeches 

When a political candidate is up for election, they deliver speeches to their constituency to obtain as many votes as possible and emerge as the winner.

The occasion mentioned in Aristotle’s model of communication is an election in this case, and the politician’s speech is made to compel the audience to respond in the manner that they intend. 

To secure votes, the politician may promise new critical new infrastructure or show their support for an important local issue.

They may also use storytelling as a persuasive tool, informing the constituency that they grew up in the area, attended the local university, and are passionate about improving community safety and access to services. 

While this happens, the audience passively listens to the information that is communicated and depending on how persuasive it was, votes for the politician (a positive effect) or chooses another candidate (a negative effect).

Television advertisements

When an automaker advertises on commercial television, the occasion is the release of a new off-road model that offers superior performance and seven seats.

Alternatively, the occasion may simply be that a target audience of people is watching television at the same time on a Monday evening.

The individual who provides the voice-over for the ad is the speaker who tries to convince the audience to take action and purchase a specific model.

The audience may be particularly passive in this example since most viewers are simply watching their favorite movie or TV show and are not in the market for a new vehicle.

However, some members of the audience will be interested in an off-road model that can also seat their whole family. 

If the company has done its research, it will know that families watch television at certain times of the week and will touch on important pain points around safety and performance in their advertising campaigns. 

For the automaker, a positive effect occurs when a TV viewer decides to visit one of their dealerships and place an order.

Radio speeches

In a more traditional example of Aristotle’s model of communication, consider the fireside chats delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and 40s.

The fireside chats were a series of evening radio speeches on issues like the economic recovery from the Great Depression and, in later years, updates on the course of the Second World War.

These were the occasions that brought people together.

Roosevelt (the speaker) also used radio to quash rumors, counter conservative rhetoric in newspapers, and explain his policies in ways the average American could understand (the audience).

His speeches were delivered with a tone and demeanor that communicated confidence and self-assuredness to citizens (the effect) in what was an uncertain period in history. 

Key takeaways:

  • The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. It was developed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle to produce more effective public speakers.
  • The Aristotle model of communication is a linear and speaker-centric model with no scope for the audience to provide feedback. There are five basic components, including speaker, speech, audience, effect, and occasion.
  • The Aristotle model of communication also details how speakers can become more persuasive. Speakers must be credible, authoritative, and be able to form an emotional connection with the audience. They must also support their statements with facts and, where necessary, engage in counter-arguments.

Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model, Linear Model Of Communication.

What is Aristotle model of communication examples?

Some examples of Aristotle’s model of communication comprise:

What are the five main components of Aristotle's model of communication?

The five main components of Aristotle’s model of communication comprise:

What are the three elements present in Aristotle communication model?

Given that the model is focused on the speaker, Aristotle also described three elements that must be present in a good communicator or orator: Ethos (the speaker’s degree of credibility or authority), Pathos (the ability of the speaker to form an emotional bond with the audience), Logos (the literal meaning of the word logos is logic).

What is the advantage of Aristotle's model of communication?

The Aristotle model of communication is a linear communication model developed by the Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed three key elements to communicate effectively: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Connected Communication Models

Aristotle’s Model of Communication

aristotle-model-of-communication
The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. The Aristotle model of communication was developed by Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed the linear model to demonstrate the importance of the speaker and their audience during communication. 

Communication Cycle

linear-model-of-communication
The linear model of communication is a relatively simplistic model envisaging a process in which a sender encodes and transmits a message that is received and decoded by a recipient. The linear model of communication suggests communication moves in one direction only. The sender transmits a message to the receiver, but the receiver does not transmit a response or provide feedback to the sender.

Berlo’s SMCR Model

berlos-smcr-model
Berlo’s SMCR model was created by American communication theorist David Berlo in 1960, who expanded the Shannon-Weaver model of communication into clear and distinct parts. Berlo’s SMCR model is a one-way or linear communication framework based on the Shannon-Weaver communication model.

Helical Model of Communication

helical-model-of-communication
The helical model of communication is a framework inspired by the three-dimensional spring-like curve of a helix. It argues communication is cyclical, continuous, non-repetitive, accumulative, and influenced by time and experience.

Lasswell Communication Model

lasswell-communication-model
The Lasswell communication model is a linear framework for explaining the communication process through segmentation. Lasswell proposed media propaganda performs three social functions: surveillance, correlation, and transmission. Lasswell believed the media could impact what viewers believed about the information presented.

Modus Tollens

modus-tollens
Modus tollens is a deductive argument form and a rule of inference used to make conclusions of arguments and sets of arguments.  Modus tollens argues that if P is true then Q is also true. However, P is false. Therefore Q is also false. Modus tollens as an inference rule dates back to late antiquity where it was taught as part of Aristotelian logic. The first person to describe the rule in detail was Theophrastus, successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school.

Five Cannons of Rhetoric

five-canons-of-rhetoric
The five canons of rhetoric were first organized by Roman philosopher Cicero in his treatise De Inventione in around 84 BC. Some 150 years later, Roman rhetorician Quintilian explored each of the five canons in more depth as part of his 12-volume textbook entitled Institutio Oratoria. The work helped the five canons become a major component of rhetorical education well into the medieval period. The five canons of rhetoric comprise a system for understanding powerful and effective communication.

Communication Strategy

communication-strategy-framework
A communication strategy framework clarifies how businesses should communicate with their employees, investors, customers, and suppliers. Some of the key elements of an effective communication strategy move around purpose, background, objectives, target audience, messaging, and approach.

Noise if Communication

noise-in-communication
Noise is any factor that interferes with or impedes effective communication between a sender and receiver. When noise disrupts the communication process or prevents the transmission of information, it is said to be communication noise.

7 Cs of Communication

7-cs-of-communication
The 7Cs of communication is a set of guiding principles on effective communication skills in business, moving around seven principles for effective business communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, complete, coherent, and courteous.

Transactional Model of Communication

transactional-model-of-communication
The transactional model of communication describes communication as a two-way, interactive process within social, relational, and cultural contexts. The transactional model of communication is best exemplified by two models. Barnlund’s model describes communication as a complex, multi-layered process where the feedback from the sender becomes the message for the receiver. Dance’s helical model is another example, which suggests communication is continuous, dynamic, evolutionary, and non-linear.
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