Persuasive Techniques in Writing
Persuasive writing is when you take a particular stance on an issue and try to convince the reader to choose the same side as you.
Everyone needs to use this form of writing at some point in their lives. When you write a cover letter or resume, for example, you’re trying to convince the employer to hire you. If you have strong political views, you may wish to try to convince other people to vote for your candidate.
There are many different tactics of persuasion that can be used in different circumstances. Here are some examples of how to write persuasively:
Use Quotes From Known Experts
Someone might be reading your essay and think, “Who is this guy/girl? And what do they know about this subject?” But if you find quotes from recognized authorities that say the same thing as you, then they may stop and listen. If you’re talking about nuclear politics, it would be great to have Robert Oppenheimer on your side. Or if your topic is nonviolent civil disobedience, Ghandi could back you up. This type of technique is great for establishing the credibility of the opinion you chose to represent.
Appeal to Emotions
Our emotions help us to make a lot of decisions from our personal relationships to the candidate we hire for a job to the car we end up buying. If you can find a way to play up your reader’s feelings by telling an emotionally charged story, you have a good chance at gathering supporters who might not have cared otherwise. For example, it’s common at anti-gun rallies to have a speech by a parent who lost a child because of the lax gun laws in the U.S. Appealing to the crowd’s emotions helps bolster support for their push for stricter laws.
Use Numbers and Stats
Numbers and stats are very persuasive because they’re concrete. You can’t argue with a number. If you say that Africa’s wild elephant population has been reduced by 80% over the last twenty years because of poaching, then it’s hard to say that poaching isn’t a problem. Obviously it is if you don’t want the elephants to become extinct. Though they don’t have direct emotional impact, numbers do have a way of crystalizing why something is important and why people should care about it. They also make you seem more knowledgeable about a subject, which makes it easier to persuade someone since you know more about the topic than they do. Always be sure to use reliable sources if you’re quoting numbers and statistics.
Confront Opposing Arguments Head-On
It’s no use sweeping contrary opinions under the rug and hoping they’ll go away. They won’t. And by ignoring them, you rob yourself of a valuable opportunity. Letting your readers know you’re aware of other viewpoints actually makes your argument stronger rather than weaker because you’re in a position to refute the opposing arguments and explain why you chose the side you did. Acknowledging the other side also makes you seem more knowledgeable. If you ignore them, the reader could assume that you took the stance you did because you didn’t know about the other possibilities.
Find Common Ground With the Reader
Depending on who your audience is and what your topic is, this can be a powerful tool of persuasion. Politicians use it all the time to relate to their voters by playing up different struggles and experiences they have in common with a given audience. Telling the reader that you know where they’re coming from makes them more open to hearing what you have to say.
Use these top persuasive techniques to bring readers to your side.