The Write Way

6 Keys to Persuasive Writing

Woman working on laptopIt's the time of year when businesses turn to planning: budgeting for next year's projects, allocating resources, or applying for research funds. Many scientists, technologists, and businesspeople face the task of completing budget requests and grant applications, with the ultimate goal of convincing this or that committee that their project should receive funding. This is when persuasive writing skills are most in demand.

Persuading through writing can be challenging. Unlike face-to-face conversation, you can't see the reactions of your audience. Instead, you must learn to anticipate reactions, arguments, and questions, and answer them in the writing itself.

Fortunately, this professional writing skill can be learned. These six tips are a great place to start.

  1. Know exactly what you want. Before you begin any type of business or technical writing, identify your goal and your audience. Establishing the action you want readers to take will help you focus and direct your writing, and knowing the needs of your audience allows you to craft writing that keeps them engaged.
  2. Understand the opposition. A strong knowledge of your audience also helps you understand the opposing view. Avoid stereotyping and assumptions; instead, try to understand why others might hold an opposing view. Then, determine how you can meet them halfway so they'll consider your side.
  3. Have all the answers. Examining counterarguments will help you anticipate potential questions from your audience. Don't try to avoid these issues. Rather, present the questionable topic, then explain why your solution overrides the argument. Stick to the facts and cite sources to lend more weight to your statements.
  4. Be concrete. Provide readers with examples and facts wherever possible. Doing so will help them visualize your proposal and its potential benefits.
  5. Get personal. What's in it for the audience? Let readers know why they should care.
  6. Finish strong. Don't underestimate the power of a strong conclusion. Just as a strong introduction draws readers in and makes them want to read your proposal, a strong conclusion cements your argument in their minds. Remind readers of the action you want them to take and why they should take it.

When you compose your documents, whether they're internal planning documents or grant applications, remember these six tips. Also consider taking a targeted writing training program, and if you’d like a professional opinion, have Hurley Write edit your grant. We'll make your content stand out.

Learning to write persuasive content can be challenging, but it is a learned skill that more than pays for the effort you put into it. Contact Hurley Write toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483) or by email for more information about our business writing training courses.

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