Our first persuasive lever is the speaker's character.

We don't mean 'character' in the sense of a character in a story; rather, we mean the speaker's history, reputation, and credibility.

Character is arguably the most important lever because character determines trust.

If the audience trusts the speaker, they are more likely to reflect the speaker's emotions and accept the speaker's argument.

Character is best demonstrated over time.

If a random stranger walks out of the wilderness and starts giving advice, you will wonder who they are and what they're up to.

But if an established member of your community, who has done all sorts of great things over many years and who has shown good judgment and care for others, starts sharing opinions, a lot of people will listen to them.

That's why professional persuaders put so much effort into establishing their own characters and brands: they know it takes time.

Sometimes a speaker is practically a stranger to the audience, and they need to establish their character as quickly as possible.

That could mean listing their personal values, telling a story about their background, or demonstrating something through the way they dress or behave.

We'll see examples of all these in this lesson.

The question of who you trust and why is important and worth thinking about, but it's not one we'll focus on here.

In this lesson, we'll look at some of the ways in which a speaker might attempt to demonstrate their character and build trust with the audience.