24 Ingredients for Persuasive Writing
Get people to LISTEN to you – ETHOS, Ethical/Trust
- Establish rapport – think about their emotional state
- Make them feel you understand their needs
- Use an engaging tone of voice
- Show you understand the issue – explain things from their point of view
- Use questions to gain attention
- Apply some flattery!
Add WEIGHT to what you say – LOGOS, Logic
- Demonstrate the benefits – what’s in it for them
- Use evidence and statistics – point to lessons from history, customs, etc.
- Show how your credibility – via your performance, expertise, testimonials
- Address their objections – give them space to back down
- Use alluring language: awareness words (Imagine, Notice … ), tag questions at end of sentence (… Don’t you?); negative scenarios before yours, etc.
- Use stories, metaphors and analogies, especially for more complex ideas
- In any analysis, be logical, coherent and factual – don’t go ‘over the top’
- Use rhetorical questions, with obvious answers
- Explain why they need to listen or change NOW
- Compare against alternatives, being fair in any comparisons (pros, cons etc.)
- Be flexible – persuasion can be a two-way process, requiring give and take
Use language that has IMPACT – PATHOS, Emotions
- Use powerful words, repetition and short sentences
- Use emotions – Boredom, Anger, Love, Disapproval, Optimism, Awe, Fear
- Project a confident tone of voice
- Use technical words that suggest ‘science’
- Use psychological tricks – people like to be part of a group; we say Yes to people we like; we like to be consistent; embed commands in the text, etc.
- Have a strong ending/conclusion to your argument