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Top 7 Keys To Persuasive Writing
by Dr. Sandy Marcus

One major reason we write anything is not only to inform, to entertain, to share, to express, to sell, to lead, to teach, to communicate - but also TO PERSUADE. Here are 7 tips based on what I have noticed over the years in what I believe is persuasive writing.

1. Start by identifying the inner needs - especially the emotional inner needs - of your audience.

We persuade when we connect with emotions. Maybe you're topic is gardening, for example. Think about why people garden. What are the emotional needs that gardening fulfills? Is it for a sense of beauty, or working with your hands, or creating something from nature? Whatever it is, identify it in your writing.

2. Ask a lead-off question.

Make it a question about your topic that will focus your audience's attention, interest, and motivation. Let's say, for example, you want to persuade your audience to learn more about classical music. You might start by asking, "Would you like to learn how classical music can help you become more successful in your work?" (Not that I know the answer to this, but it's an example of how to get your audience's attention.)

3. State what will happen to your audience if they do what you want to persuade them to do.

What will be the consequences? "It is a known fact that the people who increase their income are usually the ones who take the time to increase their vocabulary." This can also work negatively: "People who ignore their vocabulary generally do not make as much money as those who do."

4. Give step-by-step, brief, specific instructions that your audience can do easily in their everyday lives.

Give 3 to 5 steps, and write them as bullet points.

5. Predict how your audience should begin to feel if they do what is recommended.

Paint a word-picture of how they will look, what they will feel like, how their lives will be different if they do what you are suggesting.

6. Give a specific example.

Tell a brief story - either from your own experience or from a documented, well-known situation - that illustrates how your solution solves the problem and achieves the goal.

7. End with a good quote, one that is powerful and that will tell the story you want to tell.

Dr. Sandy Marcus may be contacted at
Sander Marcus, Ph.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Resume Writer in Chicago. He has over 3 decades of experience in providing career counseling, aptitude testing, job search coaching, and resume writing to tens of thousands of individuals. He is the co-author of 2 books on academic underachievement, various tests, and numerous articles. He can be contacted at, 312-567-3358.


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