By Bhalachandra Sahaj
Regardless of whether you are working on an academic paper or creative writing, your main task is to convey your main thoughts to the audience. Rather often, to do that, you have to convince your readers that your point of view is correct. Here are some persuasion techniques you might find useful when writing an essay or a story.
- Pronouns like “we” and “us” will help you persuade your audience that you are like them. At the same time, by using the pronouns “they” or “them,” you will create a division between your audience and another group of people (real or hypothetical); this can be useful when you need to compare and juxtapose two points of view.
- Mind your audience and topic when building your arguments and the manner of their introduction. Generally, you should use rational arguments, facts, and statistical data when talking about something scientific and/or academic; or, you should appeal to emotions, common sense, and humanity when talking about life, social issues, charity, and so on.
- Avoid using words that convey your uncertainty; “perhaps,” “maybe,” “probably,” “I guess,” and other similar expressions do not work in your favor in terms of persuasion. “I believe,” “I am sure,” “Certainly” are better.
- Be simple. If you cannot explain complicated things with simple words, you can’t explain anything about your subject.
- Repeat your main thesis over and over again—as many times as possible without negatively affecting the content of your writing. Did you notice that this is what all those telemarketers do?
- Neutralize counter arguments. Mention the most influential arguments that contradict your thesis, and find a way to minimize their significance, or disprove them.
- Show why what you write is important for your audience. Do not just explain that smoking is bad—instead, show them why it is bad exactly for the people reading your writing. Do not agitate against war—instead, show how regular taxpayers support wars worldwide by not acting pro-peace.
I hope these techniques will help you. There are more of them, and I will describe them in upcoming posts.