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Unlocking the Secrets of Writing a Persuasive Essay: Persuasive Writing Techniques

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    Improving your persuasive writing skills can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it can be quite simple. If you are looking to learn how to write a persuasive essay, you don’t need to take an expensive course or spend countless hours studying it. By learning and applying just a few of the most effective persuasive writing techniques, you can significantly enhance the impact of your essays and captivate your readers.

    To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled a list of the most impactful and easy-to-learn persuasive writing techniques. Incorporating these techniques into your formal student writing will dramatically improve your ability to influence and persuade your audience.

    Why Most Persuasive Essays Fail to Persuade

    When it comes to persuasion, many people mistakenly believe that a well-constructed argument backed by convincing evidence is enough to sway others. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Recent scientific research suggests that human reasoning evolved primarily to win arguments rather than to persuade others. Therefore, attempting to convince someone through reasoning alone actually triggers their argumentative side. And make them less receptive to your ideas.

    In reality, decision-making is heavily influenced by subconscious processes in our primitive brains. Only a select few individuals have mastered the art of persuasive writing techniques that tap into these unconscious methods of influencing people. By understanding and utilizing these techniques, you can effectively appeal to your readers’ subconscious minds and increase your persuasive power.

    Understanding the Basics of Persuasive Writing

    To write a persuasive essay, it’s essential to understand the basic principles of persuasive writing. Persuasive writing involves making an argument that is designed to persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view.

    This requires the writer to be clear, concise, and focused, and to use evidence and reasoning to support their argument. To start your essay, it is important to choose a topic that is debatable, relevant, and interesting to your audience.

    The Structure of a Persuasive Essay

    The structure of a persuasive essay is similar to other types of essays, but with a few key differences. The introduction should grab the reader’s attention and provide a clear thesis statement that outlines the argument you will be making.

    The body of the essay should consist of several paragraphs, each of which presents a specific point or piece of evidence to support your argument.

    The conclusion should summarize the main points of the essay and provide a strong closing statement that reinforces your thesis.

    How to Write an Effective Persuasive Essay Outline

    If you’re looking to write an effective persuasive essay, there are several steps you can take to ensure your argument is compelling and persuasive. Here’s a detailed how-to guide for the most effective steps in persuasive writing:

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    1. Clearly Highlight the Problem Statement

    The first step in writing a persuasive essay is to clearly state the problem or issue you’re addressing. Make sure your problem statement is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Your readers should fully understand it when they read it the first time.

    This is crucial because it establishes the issue you’re addressing and sets the stage for the rest of your essay. Without a clear problem statement, your argument can lack focus and direction.

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    2. Convey an Understanding of the Audience’s Perspective

    In order to persuade your audience, you need to understand their perspective. Take the time to research and understand your audience’s point of view and address their concerns in your argument.

    Conveying an understanding of the audience’s perspective is important because it helps you build a connection with your reader and demonstrate that you have considered their point of view. This can help build trust and credibility with your audience and make them more receptive to your argument.

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    3. Connect with Your Audience on an Emotional Level

    Once you understand your audience’s perspective, it’s important to connect with them on an emotional level. Use personal anecdotes, stories, or statistics that resonate with your audience and help them understand the importance of the issue.

    Connecting with your audience on an emotional level is important because it can help you make a more compelling argument. People respond more to emotions than logic, hence it is better to use personal anecdotes, stories or statistics that relate to the audience. This helps in making them understand the issue better and motivates them to act accordingly.

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    4. Present Your Main Arguments and Reasons

    Once you have connected with your audience, it’s time to present your arguments and reasons for why they should support your thesis statement. Use evidence, statistics, and logical reasoning to support your claims.

    It’s important to present arguments and reasons for supporting your thesis. This provides evidence and logical reasoning that strengthens your argument. By making a strong case for your point of view, you can increase the chances of persuading your reader to adopt your perspective.

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    5. Repeat Elements of The Previous Techniques Throughout

    Throughout your essay, it’s important to repeat the previous steps to reinforce your argument. Continuously restate the problem statement, address the audience’s concerns, and connect with them emotionally to strengthen your argument.

    Repeating the previous steps is important because it reinforces your argument and helps build momentum towards your conclusion. Continuously restating the problem statement, addressing the audience’s concerns, and connecting with them emotionally can help strengthen your argument. And make it more memorable.

    Two men looking at each other and shaking hands at a desk.

    6. Ask for a Commitment

    The final step in writing a persuasive essay is to ask your audience to make a commitment towards agreeing with your thesis statement. Make a call to action that encourages your audience to take action and support your cause.

    Asking for a commitment is important because it encourages your reader to take action and support your cause. By making a clear call to action, you can motivate your reader to become an advocate for your perspective and make a real impact on the issue you’re addressing.

    Why This Format Makes a Convincing Argument

    It’s important to use the above steps in a persuasive essay because they provide a clear framework for crafting an effective argument. One that persuades your reader to adopt your point of view.

    By following these steps, you can craft an effective and persuasive essay that captures your audience’s attention, addresses their concerns, and encourages them to support your argument. Remember to be clear, concise, and passionate in your writing to make a lasting impact.


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    Other Types of Persuasive Writing Techniques

    There are several techniques that you can use to make your persuasive essay more effective.

    Rhetorical Questions

    One important technique is to use rhetorical questions. Effective ones will be designed to provoke thought. And more importantly, prime your reader to favor your argument.

    Examples could be, “Do we really want to allow the government to control every aspect of our lives?” Or “Isn’t it time we started valuing compassion and empathy over greed and selfishness?”

    Emotional Appeals

    Another technique is to use emotional appeals, which can help to create a strong connection between the reader and your argument. People make choices based on how they feel. Without an emotional connection to you and your arguments, they will resist efforts to be persuaded by you. Here are several useful examples.

    Fear: Appeals to fear may focus on the potential negative consequences of not taking action or not using a particular product or service. Health supplement advertisements may warn that if you don’t use their product, you’ll suffer from chronic pain or be at risk of contracting serious diseases.

    Anger: Appeals to anger often play on people’s frustrations with a situation or a particular problem. Political campaign advertisements may point out the injustice of a particular law or policy. And appeal to voters’ anger to gain their support.

    Guilt: Appeals to guilt may focus on the social or moral responsibility of the audience to take a particular action or support a particular cause. Charity advertisements may highlight the plight of those in need. And appeal to viewers’ guilt to motivate them to donate.

    Empathy: Appeals to empathy may focus on evoking an emotional response that resonates with the audience’s own experiences or feelings. A television commercial for a nonprofit organization may showcase the stories of real people who have been helped by the organization. Encouraging viewers to empathize with their struggles and support the cause.

    Nostalgia: Appeals to nostalgia may play on people’s memories and emotions associated with the past. Marketing campaigns for a product may use imagery and messaging that evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era. This makes the product more appealing to potential customers.

      Address Counterarguments

      When you are making your final case, it is now useful to use evidence and reasoning to support your argument. You should also anticipate and address any counterarguments that might be raised. Doing so early avoids your reader from mentally noting these disagreements. This only makes them resist the latter part of your arguments and get emotionally detached from where you want them to be.

      Tips for Writing a Persuasive Essay

      To write a successful persuasive essay, it is important to take the time to plan and organize your thoughts before you begin writing. Start by brainstorming ideas and creating an outline of your essay. This will help you to stay focused and on topic.

      Make sure to use clear and concise language, and to vary your sentence structure to keep the reader engaged. Finally, take the time to revise and edit your essay. Make sure to check for spelling and grammar errors. And to ensure that your argument is clear and well-supported.

      Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Persuasive Essay

      Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when writing a persuasive essay:

      Failing to clearly identify your thesis statement: Your thesis statement is the foundation of your persuasive essay. It should clearly identify your main argument and provide a roadmap for the reader to follow. Make sure your thesis statement is clear and concise.

      Ignoring the audience: In order to persuade your reader, you need to understand their perspective and tailor your argument to address their concerns. Failing to consider your audience can weaken the effectiveness of your argument.

      Lack of evidence: A persuasive essay requires evidence to support your argument. Be sure to provide relevant and credible evidence to support your claims.

      Ignoring counterarguments: A strong persuasive essay anticipates and addresses potential counterarguments. Failing to do so can weaken your argument and make it less effective.

      Weak conclusion: A weak conclusion can leave the reader with a sense of dissatisfaction or confusion. Make sure your conclusion provides a strong summary of your argument and leaves a lasting impression.

        By avoiding these common mistakes and staying focused on your argument, you can craft a compelling and effective persuasive essay that persuades your reader to adopt your point of view.


        Writing a persuasive essay is an essential skill for students of all levels. And with the right techniques and strategies, it is a skill that can be learned and mastered. To write an effective essay, you should understand persuasive writing basics. This includes proper essay structure and persuasive writing techniques. By doing so, your essay will be compelling and persuasive to your reader. They will be more likely to adopt your point of view.

        Overall, using the above steps in a persuasive essay can help you craft a compelling argument. One that captures your reader’s attention, addresses their concerns, and persuades them to support your point of view. So, take the time to plan, write, and revise your essay, and unlock the secrets of writing a persuasive essay today.

        Additional Reading on How to Write a Persuasive Essay

        Here is an easy-to-follow guide for improving your writing skills.

        A full persuasion reading list which will improve your influencing skills in other areas of life can be found here:

        Best Books to Improve Your Influencing and Persuasion Skills

        Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs. He can be reached at [email protected].


        Persuasive Writing, Communication; Writing; Influence; Persuasion; Persuasive Essays

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