By Erin Nelsen
Want people to believe what you write? Persuade them.
Itâ€™s not complicated, but thereâ€™s a lot of competition out there fighting for your audienceâ€™s trust and attention. You canâ€™t afford to sound unsure or unqualified.
Here are three techniques guaranteed to get more people listening:
- Use clear, strong language. As The Elements of Style so famously declares, â€œVigorous writing is concise.â€ Avoid clutter. Structure sentences with active verbs. Use the right word, not the longest or most â€œimpressiveâ€ word. (Often this means the Anglo-Saxon instead of the Latinate: not utilization, but use; not prevaricate, but lie.) Reduce clauses, trim sentences, clarify meaning. You donâ€™t want to bore your reader with inert vocabulary and flaccid structure.
- Give evidence. Readers may be taken with your bold style, but they appreciate substance as well. Support your argument with your reasoning or your proof. A reader who can follow your logic is much more likely to agree.
- Use your own voice. If what you write sounds forced or uncharacteristic, you lose credibility. Donâ€™t ignore etiquette or grammar, but donâ€™t affect any styles or mannerisms that arenâ€™t natural unless you do so for a reason.
Listen to the responses you get, and try to tailor your message to address the obvious complaints.
The art of persuasion is a powerful oneâ€”just try not to use your power for evil. 😉
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