What is persuasive writing?
Persuasive writing uses words to convince the reader to listen or to act. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, being persuasive means that you are ‘Good at persuading someone to do or believe something through reasoning or the use of temptation’.
Great business writers use persuasive writing in proposals, articles, newsletters, memos, emails, requests for meetings, speeches, and reports. Persuasion is the art of making an offer that others can’t refuse.
Persuasive writing has to sway your reader intellectually and emotionally. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle divided persuasion into three categories of appeals called Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
1. Ethos – Be Credible
By appealing to credibility, writers make their claims more believable. The writer builds on his or her ethos by writing with clarity. The writer will be more credible if there are no errors in the writing, as well as no errors in the subject matter.
2. Logos – Be Logical
By appealing to logic, writers persuade. A successful appeal to logos requires tangible evidence, e.g., a quote from a reliable source. The writer appeals to the rationality of the audience.
3. Pathos – Appeal to Emotions
By appealing to emotions, writers persuade. This is possibly the most important of the appeals. If you judge a mood, or correctly address feelings about the subject, you can win over an audience.
Most persuasive writing techniques use all three appeals.
Writers Write Tip: Be credible, be logical, and appeal to your reader’s emotions. Use our Persuasive Writing Brainstormer Template to check that you have done this.
If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this article, read: