Overcome the Opposition: The Aristotle Episode
Mark Sylvester: John Davies has a method. An approach he systematically developed over a career-spanning three decades. He's proven it to be invaluable for dozens of industries and thousands of projects facing public acceptance. Up until now, the method has only been available to his select client list. John is unpacking his insight and wealth of knowledge to overcome opposition and earn public support for the first time, right here.
Throughout these episodes we'll take a deep dive, step-by-step, with John into his strategies to overcome opposition and create support. Nothing is free in this world, but good ideas are priceless. The show could be just the thing you've been looking for. I'm Mark Sylvester, now let's get started and talk with John.
John, welcome back. In going through the method, and the strategy, you and I were talking about how this wasn't actually new. That this had been figured out a long time ago. Tell me that story again.
John Davies: Well, it's really funny because, you know, you think, "Is this right?" first "or am I just full of bull? Am I doing the right thing? Does this make sense?" I've come up with this method over time and, "Is it real?" Well, it works, so yes. Then you get a little pride. It's like, "Wow, I'm really good." Well, because I've read lots of books. I've really studied persuasion. I really study the psychology of persuasion, and how people make decisions. Well, I was reading a book, it was called Show and Tell, and I'm popping through that book.
And I see this thing on Aristotle, and I go, "Huh?" So I got back and study some other stuff that I've read where they talk about Aristotle. Then I go back and look at some of Aristotle's teaching and go, "Oh," Aristotle, you know, 384 BC had figured out this whole idea before anyone had, and he wasn't dealing with wind farms, I don't think.
Mark Sylvester: So was the Aristotle? Was it a method, or did someone call it the Aristotle Method?
John Davies: Aristotle talked about how to persuade. You have to persuade with three different ways, three different arguments. He talked about ethos, pathos, and logos. So the idea is, you can't just go with a logical logos argument, and you can't just go with an emotional, which is pathos. And you can't just go with and ethical, ethos. So we have to do all three. So you look at it and apply that to what we've just been talking about. So ethos is earned respect through credibility and character. So that's acknowledge and contrast.
Mark Sylvester: It is, isn't it?
John Davies: Yeah. Yeah, so I'm sorry. I should say this is the Aristotle Method, not the Davies Method. Pathos is stir emotions and imagination, which is, you're stirring imagination when we address people's dreams and their fears, which we'll talk about later. But that's what we do when we're embracing and acknowledging all these things together. So embracing, engaging that's stirring people's imagination. That's getting them fired up. Then we go to logos, which is provide evidence through words, structure, and data.
Mark Sylvester: That's the logical piece.
John Davies: That's the bridge. That's when we start talking about that, but the deal is, if you want to get to the logical side of the brain, the best way to get through to it is on the emotional creative side.
Mark Sylvester: And in that order.
John Davies: Exactly, because the logical side of the brain is gonna value everything and want more data and more data and more data. It's gonna say, "No." When you go through the creative side of the brain you engage it, it's interesting. And by the way, it's the same brain, so it all gets in there. That's why stories work.
Mark Sylvester: What was the realization like for you, when you connected all of those dots?
John Davies: "Well, dang. I should have paid more attention in college philosophy classes. I wouldn't have taken 20 years of my life to come through with it, to get to this point in the method. I would have done it when I first started."
Mark Sylvester: Now, your story, as it relates to reading, because you've been reading since you were really young. Why did you start reading so young?
John Davies: Well, I had an interesting start to life. It was discovered that I had a speech impediment when I was in fourth grade, which I think everyone could have told you I had a speech impediment from the first day I tried to utter a word. Back in those days they decided I needed to deal with it. So when I had a speech impediment, you don't talk because no one understands you so you stop talking. So, when you stop talking, you start watching. And when you watch, and you're not communicating with people, you start reading. You start looking into things, and you start researching deeper and deeper, and you start watching how people behave.
Mark Sylvester: I was watching you thumb through your iPhone, your reading list. It felt like there were like 5- or 600 books on there.
John Davies: Yeah, by the way, I think it's one of the most brilliant things, is the ability to have a book in my pocket. Not one book, but 500 books. And so, there's so many great books to read. And, to really understand how to create a message I go back to some of the earliest books. There's a gentleman called Claude Hopkins who, I believe, it's in the 40s or 50s, and I read this book when I found a hardcover of it, probably 25 years ago. And now, here it is. This fresh copy I can get from Amazon or from iBooks, and it's called Scientific Advertising. I mean, that's pretty amazing.
I can read a book by a guy that stands the test of time. Then another gentleman named Rosser Reeves who wrote a book called Reality in Advertising, he came up with the idea of unique selling point. So you get back to those, and you start looking at it. Then one of the geniuses in persuasion, who has been a mentor to me in all his programs and his writing, is Bob Cialdini who wrote Influence. Now he has a new book, in the last year or so, called Presuasion. And not the easiest things to read, but well worth the reading.
Mark Sylvester: They're dense, right?
John Davies: Yeah, they're dense, but it's worth taking the time to read it. You know, you read a chapter, and you put it down sometimes for a month, and you pick it up. I think I've read Influence, maybe, five times.
Mark Sylvester: I have a few books like that, that are, you read them once a year or twice a year and, because the pearls are so good. What's interesting about these books, or these concepts, is they really do stand the test of time.
John Davies: They do.
Mark Sylvester: Right? But that's the point.
John Davies: Aristotle stood the test of time. If you look at just the idea of what he's saying, that you gotta appeal to logic, emotion, and ethics. I mean, that stands the tests of time. And think about today, everything's moving, how much faster the world moves today. But still, it has to be done. We just do it quicker.
Mark Sylvester: There's probably a nice graphic that someone could draw a triangle, and draw ethos at the top, pathos over on the right, and logos over on the left, and just make sure that they've captured those points.
John Davies: Yeah, and that's how Aristotle showed it. That's how they present his method. I don't know if it's a picture graph, or what, but that's how every book, and every place would show Aristotle. It's a triangle. And I've actually seen the different points at different places. I believe that ethos has to be on the top. And that's the ethical respect that you start with.
Mark Sylvester: And I think that's the ethical way you're suggesting in the method is, start with acknowledgment. That's the ethical way to do it. You said you had a story about Al Gore that related to this.
John Davies: Well, if you think about Al Gore, I mean, he literally changed the world with his global warming, climate change, and environmental movement. I mean, one man, one book, one movie, one idea, couldn't get elected for president. The same persuasive man. We could all argue what happened in the campaign, but he's running for election, basically, reelection for the third Clinton term. The economy is great. We're not at war. We have no deficit. And he ran, and he was so stiff. He didn't have those three arguments, at all. He was just awkward.
And so the idea, you have to those three arguments together. You have to have the emotional part, and you have to tie it all together. And he was a perfect example of someone who didn't do it. And then, if you look at some of the great communicators, great leaders of our time, I mean, Ronald Reagan always had the three. Martin Luther King, amazing with the three, Steve Jobs, amazing how he was able to communicate that way. And so, what a cast of characters, right?
Mark Sylvester: Right.
John Davies: Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs. I mean, you don't put, and Martin Luther King, you don't put them together. But they're guys that could communicate in a way that both had an ethical approach, a logical, and an emotional.
Mark Sylvester: When I think about communication, whether I'm writing a story or I'm preparing a brief and I'm gonna go talk to someone, and I think about these major beats, as I would call them. There is a linkage between those beats, and I think of them as transitions. Give me an example of a transition where I'm going from the ethical argument to the emotional argument. What would be a natural transition?
John Davies: Well, first off, the trend, it's not as important to transition, it's important that the transition in the level of interest and trust in the listener. It's not your transition, it's theirs. That you've earned their respect and their interest by being ethical. That's the whole idea of this approach is that you've earned their respect. And so, if I earn someone's respect, they're gonna listen to me.
And then, if I come to them with a more emotional argument, I mean, and that emotional argument is, what do they care about? What are their dreams? What are their fears? How do I relate to those dreams and fears? And how do I really do it, not, how do I fake it? How do I really do it? How do I care? Because, you think about pathos. I mean, just the idea of that word. That means I have empathy. I really have empathy, and I can relate to you.
Mark Sylvester: I'm reminded that I study improv, because I'm learning how to be really present. And I'm imagining talking to someone and I have these beats in my head. If I'm not paying close attention to them and I'm miss the queue, or I've lost their trust or I just said something where I broke rapport for a second, then I need to back up.
John Davies: Yeah, yeah. It's funny, I think I've talked about this with a bunch of folks. It's almost like you have to back out, take your hat off and put it on the right way again.
Mark Sylvester: Okay, you gotta unpack that for me.
John Davies: Well, the idea is like, start over. It's okay to start over. It's all right to start over, get back with people and start from the beginning again. Because if you didn't connect because you weren't paying attention, you gotta start from the beginning and connect. You gotta get a connection. The connection comes from that credibility. Do you want to talk to someone that you don't have credibility with?
Mark Sylvester: Not at all.
John Davies: So, a waiter comes to your table and immediately they go, "Hey, the specials tonight are so great, especially the salmon. It's fresh." And then you look on the menu, the little clip on the menu of the special, and it's a $45 entrée, the salmon. It's like, that guy's gone. He doesn't have credibility. If he comes over and says, "Listen, if you're thinking about fish tonight, these three fish are fresh. The other two were brought in yesterday. Still good, but they're not as fresh." This is happening, and regardless of price, he's working with you. And so, he's creating credibility. And by the end of the dinner, if he comes by and says, "You want dessert?" you have so much credibility, you'll say you'll have the $45 piece of pie and you're like, "I'm in," because you trust him.
Mark Sylvester: John, I want a $45 piece of pie.
John Davies: I don't.
Mark Sylvester: I appreciate getting the history lesson here, John. Next week, we're going to stay in this general idea, and we’re gonna talk about how everyone else has been doing this backwards.
John Davies: Yeah. It's not a pretty scene, but I think it's something that helps you realize how to do it right.
Mark Sylvester: Thanks, John. Thank you for listening. It's now your opportunity and responsibility to use the method today. You've completed one segment toward understanding the Davies Method. We look forward to you subscribing. Join us as we uncover and explain the nuances of John's distinctive approach. For more episodes, visit thedaviesmethod.com. I'm Mark Sylvester, recording at the Full Stream Press Studios in Santa Barbara Ca.