3 (Very) Persuasive Writing Techniques

UPDATED. Wouldn’t it be great if you could influence others a little bit more? Not total mind control but agreeing with your point of view, taking more action, following your advice.

5 Persuasive Business Writing Techniques

The problem with persuasion is that if you use it incorrectly it comes across as coarse, bullying or heavy-handed. Think of The Godfather making you an offer you can’t refuse!

In contrast, the most successful business documents are written in a way that brings you along with the writer.

You find yourself nodding in agreement. Leaning forward to read it more carefully. Maybe even looking forward to reading it again.

It’s all about setting the tone, getting the reader into the right frame of mind, and then gently nudging them along the path.

Here are three (now five) ways to do this.

  1. Ask Why. Open with a question. Like I did above. Why? This immediately gets the reader involved. Whether they agree or not, you’ve made them sit up and pay (a little) attention.
  2. Reverse Psychology. Instead of telling the reader why they should buy your product, flip it around. Tell them why your product failed in the past. Remind them of the terrible customer service. Run yourself down a little… put them in a position of strength.
  3. Empathy. To get them on-side, open up a little and share something with them. Something that shows your human side. Your vulnerable side. Where you feel insecure, threatened, or confused. Why? This disarms the reader and makes them forget they’re reading a white paper, case study, or business proposal. Now that they empathize with you, they want to read on.
  4. Social Proof. Instead of *you* telling them what a terrific product you have, let them know what others think. Add quotes, endorsements, and other types of recommendations to prove that others believe in your product. ‘Look at what these people say – they can’t be all wrong.’
  5. The Power of Three. There is something very special about the number three. Trinity. Triads. Trilogy. Blend your core message into the copy at least three times. Use different variations to make your point. For example, use stories, analogies, or quotes to blend the message into the text.

These are three ways you can make your business writing stand out. What’s so special about it? It works because we focus on the reader not the product.

Remember, we rationalize things with our head but make decisions in our hearts.

Ask yourself: How can I engage with this person? What will make them take action? What will open their heart?

Over to you.

What tactics do you use when writing business documents? Is writing for men and women different?