I would like to share with you some practical tips for persuasive writing that I learned from professor Mike Long at Georgetown University. Writing to persuade can be an intimidating task, but if we prepare ourselves, organize our thoughts, and use convincing arguments we can do it successfully.
Before you write a word, spend time thinking
Writing is the process of registering ideas on paper. If your thoughts are not clear your writing will not be clear. To start writing you must be able to identify and order the main ideas that you want to communicate. Make a list of the big points you need to make and then narrow these points down to the absolutely necessary. If you try to cover too many things you will lose the opportunity to persuade the reader on your most important points. When you are able to summarize your thoughts in one or two sentences, then you are ready to write a clear and convincing text.
The key is organization
After organizing your thoughts it’s time to organize your writing. Use the introduction, development and conclusion structure to present you ideas in the text. In the introduction you should clearly state the point of the document to get the attention of the reader early on. Use the introduction to present the main ideas that you will be discussing. In the development you will argue your points. Make sure to pick one main idea for each paragraph and argue it using evidence. In the conclusion you restate your big points and give the reader a sense of closure. Be careful not to introduce new ideas in the conclusion because main ideas should be fully argued in the body of the text.
Business writing has the purpose of informing and persuading the reader, which is done through arguing with evidence. When you add evidence to prove your points it shows that you have spent time considering and researching the subject and that your conclusions are worth considering. Evidence comes in different forms. They could be facts, statistics, logic thinking, case studies, history, personal experiences, examples and even anecdotes. Illustrate your main ideas with evidence and you will have a better chance to persuade your audience.
Who is the audience?
If your purpose is to inform and persuade, you will have to consider your audience to choose the best argument. Show that you care for the reader to understand you points. Explain things using language and examples that are familiar to them. Your text should have the ability to inspire and to communicate complicated things in simple ways.
If you have a call to action, do it in the end.
If you want the reader to do something you must state your call to action clearly in the end of your text. You can also use calls to action throughout the piece but readers remember best the last thing they see. For this reason the last words of your text should be your call to action.
These tips have been valuable to me and I hope they will be helpful to you. Convincing someone of something is easier when you know exactly what you want to convey and use powerful evidence tailored to the audience that will read you text.