Tips on How to Write Persuasively

Posted on: June 10, 2010

Have you ever had to ask someone to do something and then motivate them to act?

Maybe you’re trying to get people to donate to your cause, or prompt a customer to pay a bill, or inspire your employees to adopt a procedure, or get a company to give you a job interview, or ask strangers to vote for you. All sorts of situations require us to write persuasively in order to get what we want.

Swaying someone’s mind can be hard work, as we all know. So here are some tips for a better shot at achieving your goals:

What Is Your Purpose?

Before you begin the first draft, decide: What is the purpose of the piece I am writing? What is it exactly that I want my readers to do?

Be very specific in your answer, because your stated purpose becomes the focus for every detail, statistic, set of results, observation, fact, argument and data point you will include. Everything must support your purpose.

Who Is Your Audience?

To persuade people, you must know who they are, so that you can find a point of agreement where they can say “oh yeah, that’s true,” or “that’s right,” and get on board with you.

This means you need to identify who your audience is. Are they individuals you know? Consumers? Retailers? Strangers? Companies in a particular industry? People who have a certain type of job? Members who belong to a specific organization? People in a certain age group?

Research your audience as much as possible. Get all the demographic data you can. And then be prepared to make some general assumptions as well.

What Does Your Audience Care About?

Once you know who your audience is, you should be able to define the kinds of arguments they will respond to. This will help you determine whether to lean toward the logical or the emotional.

You also need to define the kinds of issues they care about. What moves your audience? Where do their interests lie? What are their touchpoints, those areas where they feel they have some skin in the game?

When in doubt, paint the issues with a broad brushstroke, so you include as many people as possible.

What Tone Works?

The tone you use in writing reveals your attitudes toward your subject and your audience. The right tone is absolutely critical. Control tone, or risk losing your audience.

In general, a positive tone is more persuasive than a negative, sarcastic, humorous or angry one. So write positively, and express confidence and hope, warmth and cheer. If you can do that, and make your readers feel empowered and good about themselves, you will write persuasively.

What other techniques can you think of to make your writing more persuasive?  Elizabeth Lexleigh  LexPower  The Write Ideas


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