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Why Don’t I Believe George Clooney?

Extraordinary actors, in one low-key scene in the movie “Up In The Air”. George Clooney’s speech turns the otherwise cumbersome encounter into an almost inspirational moment. Why almost?
Because I don’t believe George Clooney.
He lacks credibility.

He is missing one point. A point that would make me actually believe that J.K. Simmons’ character would start instantly looking for his apron after finishing this conversation.

Aristotle’s modes of persuasion define three aspects that have to be covered in order to persuade the listener:
Pathos, Logos, Ethos.

Pathos is about emotions – Check

As George Clooney wisely put: “Your children’s admiration is important to you?” He plays out the card that – as their prior short conversation showed – would be a hot button. Clooney learned that the guy can be influenced through his children. In another scenario, this tool could have been used to piss him off, or to make him distressed, whatever emotion he wants. In this case, he used the ”children card” as a tool to calm Simmons down and get him interested. Smart move.

Logos is about logic – Check

Simmons’ character, as stated in his resume, has the skillset and ambitions that would be needed in case he chose to go with cooking. Clooney once again played it well.
Logos is covered.

Ethos is about credibility – The missing link

Clooney didn’t mention anything about his own background, that would make his line of thoughts credible. Even a story of someone else he had met and gone through the same struggle but ended up living for his dream, would have made his thoughts more credible.

Simmons legitimately could think that even if he starts over as a cook, would finally end up on the streets. If I were him with decades spent in a corporate job behind my back, I would be outraged that I get such a naïve advice from a smart looking guy in his 50s.
If no other example is provided, I would start thinking about what are the perils and pitfalls of this endeavor.

A personal example of success highlights the possible gains of such an adventure and diminishes the assumed threats of it.
Unfortunately, no such thing was mentioned.

Why don’t I believe George Clooney?

Without credibility, the listeners would feel cheated. It would feel that a hypocrite was giving them uncalled advice. Without building credibility, people might believe your logic, might even act on your idea, but you can bet that they would leave you out of their decision.

George did it wrong this time.

If you expect people to put their trust in you, don’t make the same mistake as George Clooney did.
Stop for a moment before getting on stage and put effort into building credibility.

And if you went this far with reading, here is my last advice. If instead of entertainment seekers, you want full-hearted followers, then don’t only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

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