How to Write Persuasively and Why

Published Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:01 AM

To write is human. To persuade, divine. Writing clear, compelling communications that beguile readers with style and conviction is a must in the modern workplace. Do you want to convince readers of your viewpoint?  Or to clearly communicate information or intentions? Of course you do!  

Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Writing is a crucial part of the work day-to-day. Consider how many work products are written: e-mail, cover letters, sales pitches, internal memos, presentation and blog posts. Even the 140-character Tweet requires pint-sized punch.

Techniques, Not Talent

Pulitzer Prize writing requires enormous talent. Clear, compelling persuasive writing does not; rather it requires techniques anyone can master.  So how to write persuasively?

Employ these techniques:

  •  Create Strong Ideas (Simply state main ideas. To be persuasive, opinions must be understandable.)
  • Organize Logically (Chose to present your ideas directly or indirectly, don't meander between the two.)
  •  Select an Appropriate Voice (Is a formal or casual tone appropriate?  Most businesses writing should aim for a conversation, yet professional tone.)
  • Precise Words Only (Leave out qualifiers, excessive adjectives/adverbs, long lead-ins, clichés)
  • Employ Sentence Variety (Vary rhythm. Use a mix of short, punchy sentences offsetting longer ones.)
  • Correct Copy (There's no place for typos, grammatical errors.)
  • Polish the Presentation (How does the copy look? Make use of bullets and formatting to create white space. Keep it easy on the eyes, not dense.)


And, most importantly, proof read your work. Many times, when I believe I have done all of the above techniques, I proof my work, and find a mistake, or a better way to communicate an idea.

See what professional writers have to say on the topic:

Really serious about overhauling your writing skills? Invest in two classic references:

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction and Strunk's Elements of Style. 

Do you have compelling examples of writing to share? What writers do you find persuasive and why? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Candie Harris


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