Persuasive Writing (Bite Size)

What is a proposal?

An appeal to the reader to gain their agreement. Explaining your proposition to the reader and showing them how you can offer them a solution to their problems. This can be achieved by employing the art of persuasive writing

What is Persuasive Writing?

There are three main components to persuasive writing:

Personal: It is primarily focused on your reader’s needs and preferences

About probabilities: Someone else’s solution might be appealing, but your goal is to convince your reader that your solution is the more likely to succeed

Conclusive: It leaves no doubt as to the best course of action

Best Practices:

Know Your Audience

Persuasive writing is all about the audience.  To write clearly, you have to make sure that every sentence relates to the subject and filtered for your audience.

Structure Your Proposal Like An Argument

The rhetorical structure makes perfect, logical sense.

One way of reinforcing the logic of your argument is to introduce your proposal sections with summaries that echo the preceding logical sequence.

Establish The Validity Of Your Proposal With Logic

In proposals, we state claims and provide proofs to support them. The more objective our proofs are, the more compelling is our argument.

Proofs take many forms, ranging from the definitive like Technical specifications, Test results, Certifications, Adherence to standards and can also be more anecdotal like Evidence of past performance, testimonies of satisfied customers, Citations of awards and recognitions.

To persuade, you must follow every claim with proof and show how that proof will apply in your reader’s world.

Appeal To The Emotions Of Your Audience

A time-tested persuasive technique is to express how inaction or the wrong action can jeopardize your reader’s wellbeing. This is known as the “FUD factor” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).
Another technique for eliciting an emotional response from readers is to use vivid language. You can bring vividness to your writing by using:

  • Common words over their formal equivalents.
  • Concrete words instead of abstract terms.

Some words are value-laden in themselves. These words are emotionally charged across the spectrum of topics, from politics to religion to finance and beyond. Use them carefully.

Anticipate Your Readers’ Questions

As a persuasive writer, make sure to take all the roadblocks to “yes” out of the way by anticipating every point at which your reader may become uncomfortable. Always ask yourself the same questions your reader will ask you and be specific with your responses to these questions.

Details persuade; generalizations come off as hedges at best and smokescreens at worst.

Use Graphics And Multimedia

Graphics are powerful tools for persuading audiences. Creating a comprehensive visual strategy that reinforces and enhances your textual messages is a key way to ensure your reader sticks with your narrative and your narrative sticks in their minds.

Updated July 2022

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