Learning to Write Persuasively

When you’re using writing in a business or sales context, you’ll need to write persuasively to make your product or proposition sound compelling. The more fluently and eloquently you’re able to write, the more persuasive you will naturally be. However, there are some techniques which you can use which will also help you to draw in your audience:

  1. Use patterns of three. Give something three advantages in order to reinforce its key positive points.
  2. Write in the first or second person. This allows you to make your message personal and to address your audience directly.
  3. Ask your readers questions. This involves them in the writing and makes them consider it more closely.
  4. Choose a tone of voice and stick to it. If you switch between informal and formal constructions your message will sound confused. Either can work well depending on the situation, just remember to remain consistent.
  5. As well as deciding upon a tone of voice, you’ll need to decide upon your overall writing style. Will you be descriptive and use lots of modifiers to paint a picture? Will you keep it short and snappy?
  6. Use memorable phrases and slogans. You can make up your own or use existing set phrases which people are familiar with. This will help to make your message stay in the forefront of readers’ minds.
  7. Include calls to actions. These are imperative verbs which instruct your audience to do something specific. You can phrase your calls to action however you like depending on your overall style and tone.

Punctuation: the Cornerstone of Good Writing

Punctuation is inescapable if you want to produce good quality writing. The term refers to a number of symbols which are used in writing to shape its meaning by elucidating each word’s role in a sentence. Without it, a piece of writing lacks structure, form and meaning.

Often, without the correct punctuation, a sentence fails to make any sense at all. Apostrophes, commas, full stops, colons, semicolons, hyphens and many other forms of punctuation play a central role in our understanding of language. They are absolutely vital if you want to make yourself clear on paper. Think about the following sentence: ‘Writing’s very important when you’re communicating; it has to be clear’. Without its apostrophes, semicolon and full stop, the sentence would have no meaning and would contain words which don’t actually exist in the English language.

If you don’t adhere to the rules of punctuation, you can also put yourself in very real danger of miscommunication with your audience. Punctuation has the power to completely skew the meaning of a sentence. Consider this example: ‘My hobbies include writing, poetry and music.’ If you remove the commas, this becomes: ‘My hobbies include writing poetry and music’. Writing is lost as one of the hobbies in the list – without the comma, it acts as the verb describing the process of producing the nouns, poetry and music.

If you’re not 100% confident with punctuation, practice makes perfect. The more you write the more you will improve. If you’re still not sure, ask someone to verify that your work reads as you want it to.

What Makes a Person’s Writing Skills Great?

A lot of people are adequate writers, but the number of people who are able to write really well seems to be an ever shrinking number. Most people don’t really have a comprehensive writing education any, whereby they are taught how to formulate their writing so that it reads well and means what it intends to mean; many people just sort of muddle through writing.

In order to become one of those few people who has objectively great writing skills, you first need to understand what that constitutes. Writing is intended to convey meaning to the reader, and this is by no means a simple process. After all, different people will react to different stimuli, which in the practice of writing means that you can never be sure that what works for one person will definitely work for the next. Great writers tend to be able to understand the psychology of their readers and respond accordingly, usually by changing the tone and flow of the words they’re using.

Great writers are, of course, articulate in their writing, but what sets them apart from the majority of good writers is that they’re able to easily adapt their writing style to what the situation and environment requires. This is important in the business world, as depending upon whether you’re writing for B2B or B2C, or even internal communication, the style of writing can impact their understanding of what you’re trying to convey to them and how positively they interpret it.