This weekend after church I had the privilege to share a meal with a team of youth workers visiting from Georgia—great folks! They had just observed the youth ministry at Saddleback Church–where I was speaking at the high school service. As we sat to eat, the first question related to speaking/teaching, “Doug, what do you think is the most important element of communicating to teenagers?”

I’m not sure my answer is really what I think is “the most important” factor, but I shared with them the 3 questions that I’m constantly thinking about before/during/after the communication process. It’s something I learned from a mentor (thanks Tim Timmons) who adapted the questions from Aristotle’s modes of persuasion:

The modes of persuasion are devices in rhetoric that classify the speaker’s appeal to the audience. They are: ethos, pathos and logos.

I think of these 3 appeals in terms of primary questions that my audience is asking about me as the communicator:

Can I trust you?” (ethos)
Do you care about me?” (pathos)
Do you know what you’re talking about?” (logos)

Because my blogging mentor Josh Griffin says my posts are too long, I will follow his advice and break these three questions down and further explain “the how” in tomorrow’s post.

What do you think of these questions? What questions do you think your audience is asking when you’re speaking?