Anyone can type a thousand-word-long text, but making it compelling and persuasive is a feat not many can boast of.
You probably know it already. That can be the reason why right now, you might be thinking “I have to do my homework now” and actively dreading the prospect. That’s also why writing a convincing essay seems to be plain impossible to pull off.
Fortunately, persuasive writing is a skill, not a talent awarded at birth. Here are five techniques to help you develop it – and hand in a work that would be worthy of the highest grade.
How to persuade readers or listeners is hardly a new area of knowledge. It dates back to Ancient Greece. In the 4th century BC, Aristotle formulated three modes of persuasion – and they have endured well enough to ring true today.
The audience trusts the author because they are believed to be credible. Think about your favorite celebrity or politician. Most likely, you don’t double-check everything they claim – instead, you trust their words because you believe them to be experts.
Students are rarely considered credible experts. Yet, the sources they quote are not. To ensure the credibility of the information you quote and present:
This aspect presupposes that the author uses facts and sound logic to prove their point rationally. This means using studies, statistics, and experts’ opinions to support your opinion and draw logical conclusions.
Make sure your paper’s logic is solid. Avoid common fallacies like:
And always (always!) provide sources wherever it’s possible.
This is all about connecting with the reader on an emotional level. The author should be able to empathize with the target audience, address their current emotions, and inspire new ones.
How to use it:
The whole point of persuasive writing is to sway the reader’s opinion. To do so, you need to become well-versed in the subject and what experts have to say in support or opposition to your point.
Once you do your research, find the counterarguments to the opposition’s stance. The whole point is to address any doubts or objections the reader may have in the text itself.
If it could help, think of it as a debate: you have to not only present your thesis but also disprove the other party’s statements.
Any persuasive essay consists of these three general components, be it written for academic purposes or not:
When it comes to the main body – the heart and soul of a persuasive text – ensure that each of its paragraphs follows this structure:
Always remain focused on the topic and your arguments. Don’t switch your stance or its nuances throughout the text. Don’t ramble or trail away just to meet the minimum word count requirement. Stick to the structure and use as few words as possible to communicate your thoughts.
Consistency isn’t only about the content, though. It’s about the language you use, too. In academic writing, you are expected to use formal language and, in most cases, a third-person narrative.
So, while proofreading the text, ensure that there are no informal or slang words and that tenses and the point of view remain consistent.
How does anyone get better at persuasive writing? Well, persuasion – be it written or spoken – is a skill. As with any skill, it can be boosted by practice and hard work.
Of course, it takes time, but it’s a good investment. Persuasion is one of those competencies that are valuable on the job market across a number of fields, from marketing to sales.