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Persuasive writing is a fantastic tool for getting people on board with new ways of thinking and working - to drive innovation and change. If you can write in a way that can persuade and influence your colleagues or clients, then you'll be a much more effective professional. You might persuade the board to agree to a new proposal, you might persuade someone to give you a job, or you could persuade a business owner to become your client. When you're writing to persuade, you have a clear purpose. You're not just communicating information, you're trying to change the way someone thinks, or to change their behaviour, or to get them to agree to something. And they might not want to do that. Persuasive writing is about that purpose, but it is also about the people - your readers. It can be a real challenge sometimes to think about who you are trying to influence. You need to understand why they might not want to listen to you, why they might not agree to what you're proposing. And you need to have a real strategy for tackling those obstacles, rather than just sharing the data you have.

Getting started

  1. Identify what you want to achieve. It's really important to be realistic about this. What do you want the readers of your email or report to do? Is this a likely outcome or is it too ambitious?
  2. Learn as much as you can about your audience. How will they perceive your writing? What kinds of things might currently be in their heads? Why might they oppose what you're suggesting?
  3. Double check that writing is the right communication tool. Sometimes, especially if you're dealing with a sensitive situation, it can be much better to persuade someone in person.
  4. Work out what is going to matter to your audience. How can you connect with them? Can you come up with a plan that works for them?
  5. Make sure you have one clear, simple ask - going back to that goal of what you want to achieve. What do you want people to do when they finish reading your email or your report? Be clear when communicating that.

You need to do all that thinking before you even start typing any words. Only then will your writing really hit the mark.

Anna Faherty is an author for accountingcpd. To see her courses, click here.

To see Anna's course Persuasive Writing click here!

  1. Richard M
    Posted 16-Nov-2023 at
    writing for the audience and subject matter is a skill that we all need to master
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