Two women at work writing on a whiteboardLeadership & Influence

Persuasive Writing And Language Techniques To Transform The Way You Write

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Improving your persuasive writing and language skills is easy. You don’t need to take an expensive course or spend a lot of time. If you learn and apply a few of the most effective techniques, you can make your writing and language more captivating to your readers.

Here are some of the most impactful, yet easy to learn, persuasive writing and language techniques. Use them in your formal student or business writing work. They will dramatically improve the influencing and persuasive power of your prose.

Short Sentences Make Your Writing Persuasive

Use small, clear sentences. Present one point per sentence. Cognitive ease is provided to the reader through simple structuring. Your readers are not as familiar with your topic as you are.

Focused sentences will help them understand your message clearly. If they grasp the essence of your logic easily, their subconscious minds will view your points as more persuasive.

Avoid Complicated Words And Language

Person holding a chalk and writing equations on a blackboard to demonstrate that persuasive writing and language techniques require simplicity.

Using complex language neither makes you come across as intelligent, nor does it make your writing persuasive. It makes you sound pompous and self-interested. It can also distract your audience from your main message. Avoid it unless you are an English major.

Still not convinced of the need for simplicity in your language? Read this article in the journal, Applied Cognitive Psychology, “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.” You will find a link to it at the end of this article.

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument but in the right word.”

Joseph Conrad
According to Wikipedia, though Conrad did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature.

Avoid Extra Words That Provide No Persuasive Value To Your Writing

Drop unnecessary words. “My efforts were very much appreciated by the team,” reads better as “My efforts were appreciated by the team.”

The extra words, “very much,” add nothing of significance.

Grab Your Reader’s Attention At The Start

Carefully draft your first two or three sentences in your introduction. Spend extra time and effort here. That’s where you will anchor your readers. How you do this depends on what you are writing about.

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If you are looking for ideas on persuasive techniques to use when writing your introduction, read Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. In Chapter 7, he talks about influential words and phrases you can use to make your audience more prone to accepting your yet-to-be-delivered message.

Pre-suasion is a broader topic in the field of persuasion. It cannot be dealt with here in enough depth. But you can find our review of Cialdini’s book and a brief explanation of how pre-suasion works here.

Put The Object Before The Action (Use More Active Voice)

Always put the object before the action. Readers will find this form of sentence structuring easier to understand. For example, saying — Six customer support tickets were completed in a day — is preferred to — In a day, completed six customer support tickets.

The latter structuring (passive voice) makes your readers spend just that extra bit of mental effort on comprehending what you are saying. It will make it hard on your readers if you have too much passive voice. Some passive voice is fine but keep it to less than 10% of your content.

Fifth Grader Language Is The Most Persuasive

Use plain talk that visually makes your points. Fifth grader language and imagination are all you need to play with. Don’t feel tempted to reach for fancy words. If you waste your reader’s adulation on your intelligent-sounding words, you will lose out on your main message.

Persuasive Writing And Language Is Easy To Master

Woman writing on her laptop while sipping coffee

The steps above account for about 80% of what makes your writing and language persuasive. The other techniques are more difficult to learn. For most of us, there is no point in taking the extra time to reach perfection. 80% of a skill level is a great place to be at.

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Instead of spending days on the remaining 20%, work on developing other skills that will help you in other areas. If you are interested in compiling a talent stack of killer abilities, here are some suggestions.

Additional Reading To Make Your Writing Persuasive

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

References

Oppenheimer, D.M. “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 2006, 20, 139–156.


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.


Keywords

Personal Development, Career Advice, Persuasive Writing Techniques, Persuasive Language, How To Improve Your Business Writing Skills

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