Guidelines for writing to persuade.
Have you ever needed to persuade someone? Of course you have. Whether it’s persuading a parent to let you go to that party, or persuading a company to hire you. We’ve all been there.
So how do you actually go about trying to persuade something using just the power of language?
Give reasons. Statistics, quotes and personal views can all provide your reader with reasons as to why they should agree with you. After all, they don’t have to agree, so you have to give them the right reasons. Make them want to agree.
Repeat your argument and your reasons. You want them to be imprinted upon your reader’s mind by the time you’re done, so repetition is key. Try to phrase points in different ways though, perhaps a quote followed by a statistic that back each other up perfectly. It’s a double whammy without the reader even realising it.
Write in your own personal style. This way, it becomes much easier for readers to relate with what you’re saying on a personal level instead of having to work their way through a sheet of dry facts. Keep it fluid, fast paced, and above all, interesting.
· Rhetorical questions
Make your reader question themselves. Why have they not already taken the steps that you’re trying to pass on? You want your reader to think logically about what it is you are saying and back up this logic with the hard facts you’ll be including.
It’s not all about getting your own way. A successful negotiation is one where both parties come away completely satisfied with the deal they’ve been given. Don’t hammer your view into them, cooperate and aim for a balance between the two sides.
Don’t stray from your point. If your reader starts to get the impression that you aren’t 100% behind your side, they aren’t going to feel confident about agreeing with you.
Raise awareness of an existing problem, and then offer a solution. If the reader doesn’t see a problem they won’t want a solution. Of course this isn’t always applicable, but where it is, make use of it.
Get your level of formality right. Be aware of your reader, and play to their level. A huge cooperation will expect a higher level of formality than a friend you want to go on holiday with.
Don’t get hyperbolic. If you exaggerate then people might not completely trust what you’re saying or just find it slightly ridiculous.
Tell the truth. If you make up a fact or statistic and your reader checks it out, you are screwed. After all, who would want to cooperate with you when they know you’ve already lied to them?
This is hardly a complete list, and you don’t want to make your piece overly formulaic, so just try it out and see what happens. And remember, read and reread your piece before sending it off anywhere.