Admit it. You write because you want to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view. Or maybe you want them to be inspired by your words, to apply your teachings and principles, to act on your ideas.
Don’t want to admit it? Okay. This is not an interrogation. I’ll move on then.
Persuasion is the ability to present a certain situation as being beneficial to both parties. You make someone an offer they can’t refuse. Not in a Godfather sense of the way though.
Yes, you need to work at making the other understand that a good deal is being offered.
And, yes, there are techniques that can help you create a more compelling case.
Here are the ten best persuasive writing techniques.
Prepare for… WORLD DOMINATION!
Because no one is listening the first time you say something. They’re just not paying attention. So you must say it a second time. And you think to yourself, now they got it. Odds are, no, they didn’t.
The third time you say it, that’s when they ask a question about what you just said, because they really didn’t hear you the first times.
The fourth time you say it, they think to themselves: “Well, this must be important, because it’s the second time he’s told me about it.”
Or so the legend goes.
The truth is that repetition is crucial. The trick is to deliver your point in several different ways, such as directly, using an example, by telling them a story, or utilizing a quote from someone famous.
2. Use the power of because
“Why?” you ask.
“Because I said so.”
Because is such a powerful word that people are more likely to comply with a request if you just give them a reason why… even if that reason makes no sense at all to them.
The idea is that we don’t like to be told to do things without an explanation.
We’re all rebels here, so when you need people to be receptive to your line of thinking, always give reasons why.
Because I said so.
Consistency (also known as congruency) is an important trait to have. It is associated with integrity and rational behavior.
We want to be consistent, so we don’t like to have conflicting ideas or opinions.
When it comes to writing this translates to making your reader agree with something that cannot be denied, then add all sorts of evidence to support your case. Tie it all back to the opening idea that has already been accepted in order to make your readers agree with everything you wrote.
4. Social Proof
This is a concept I talk about when making my case against posting too often, especially on a young blog.
We’re constantly looking for guidance from others, but at the same time we want to make sure that the people we associate ourselves with have been “verified by others.”
Yeah, that’s the best term that I could come up with.
It’s why testimonials are so effective, or why a person who’s seen having a lot of friends makes others want to be friends with them too.
How do you use social proof in your writing?
Quote from a bunch of famous people, use studies, and so on. If others agree with what you’re writing, then odds are that your readers will too.
Metaphors, similes and analogies are the persuasive writer’s best friends. When your scenario relates to something that the reader already accepts as true, you stand a better chance at making them see things your way.
6. Fix a problem
Don’t we all have problems? Don’t we all want them fixed?
You just need to identify the problem, play a bit with your readers emotions, then offer them the solution to their problem.
This sounds like something straight out of a plan for world domination, but it’s not about being cruel, it’s more about empathy. You want your readers to understand that you feel them, you get what they’re going through because you’ve also dealt with this issue.
Your solution is only as good as your ability to show the reader that you can feel his pain and struggle.
7. Become a modern-day Nostradamus
No, I’m not kidding you. This is an actual persuasion technique. The idea is to provide your readers with a convincing glimpse of the future.
Take into account current events and then tell folks how it’s going to be.
If this sounds foolish to you, it’s not. The only issue is that if you have no idea what you’re talking about, then you will appear to be foolish to your readers.
Your prediction needs to make sense, to be convincing enough. You need to demonstrate that you know what you’re about, that you’ve given this some serious thought.
8. Unify … Selectively
Do you know when people best work together? When they have to fight against another group.
We function primarily in a mode of “us vs. them.” There has to be an outside group we are aware of to form an identity as a group.
Exclusive memberships work like that. As a matter of fact, I believe the word exclusive means that you’re apart of a special group. The best group.
You can study pretty much every successful leader in the way they chose their words as to create a group, and especially the words they used to define everyone else outside that group.
The more difficult it is to be a part of a group, the more you want to become a member.
For instance, the group made up of all the hundred something thousand people who follow this blog is the best group ever. Honestly. Every single day they make my day, make me smile and laugh, offer incredible insight into the world of art, books, blogging, writing. Great people!
9. Address Objections
There will always be someone who disagrees with a particular statement of yours. This happens every time you make a nuanced point, so it’s best to identify those moments and address potential objections, because…
Credibility, I guess.
Yeah. That one.
It also means that you know what you’re writing about.
Storytelling is the wonder weapon: you can and should use it in combination with any and all of the previous nine techniques. Storytelling works so well because it allows people to persuade themselves, and that’s what it’s really all about.
Truth be told, we never convince anyone of anything — we just offer to help them decide we’re right. If you’re a great storyteller, then you can pretty much make people do whatever you want.
Including WORLD DOMINATION!