Persuasive Writing: How to Make Them Listen

Firstly, you do not make inconsistent arguments, such as telling people to “listen” when an essay is clearly “read.” Secondly, you take note of some of the tips on this article and maybe then you will be able to get people to pay attention to your point. Getting them interested in what you are saying is the first step, and after that you have to keep their interests whilst slowly convincing them you are correct.

Explain what your essay is all about

Some people want to hold off on this point until they have made their first argument or argument cluster, but you do need to tell people what they are about to read. The first reason is because your reader needs to know if this topic applies to them and if you already have someone that agrees with you then you do not want them reading the same thing again for fear you change their mind by accident.

Show people that you are going to convince them

Do tell people that you are going to change their mind and that the arguments and points in your essay are going to do the changing. It is a confident way of showing the reader that you believe what you are going to convey. If this sort of thing didn’t matter, then we could write bullet point lists and have it come across as a persuasive essay (but we cannot).

Back up your points with counter arguments

When you make a persuasive point, you have to accept the fact that if people were there in the room that they would make counter arguments. You need to make the same counter arguments so you can destroy them. You are not countering your own arguments to make your point weaker, you are doing it to show just how strong and unflappable your argument really is.

Overcome the counter arguments fairly

If you fill your counter arguments with bias and poor quality data, then you are going to convince people that you are wrong. Your point itself may be valid, but if you purposefully present weak counter arguments then people will think “You” are wrong and therefore so is all your text.

For example, if your argument says, “god is good,” and then you counter with, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” It would be a terrible idea to answer that counter with, “God works in mysterious ways.” Even if that were true, it is a terrible counter argument and the reader will lose faith in the writer. You will convince the reader that your essay is not worth reading or taking seriously.

Note/remember what point you are making and move your points around at the end

You do this because at the end you may have a very good and very plausible set of points, but they may appear in the wrong order. Your most powerful argument may be nestled in the middle where people may be skim reading. Plus, in the middle you may have put your argument that is the defining point, and people will wonder why you didn’t open with it. Your main closing argument may also be something you mentioned earlier and you may wish to move it to somewhere else in the text.

You may have made similar points throughout the essay. If this is the case, you may want to shift them all together in the same place at another point in the essay. All of these reasons are why you should shift points around when you have finished your essay.

It is okay to leave some grey areas

There are some times when there are no definitive answers, and you are allowed to touch upon that in your essay. You are allowed to say that with this issue there are no certainties and that there are grey areas. In such a case, it is your job to point out why you came to your decision.

Maybe dinosaurs were subterranean and lived only 100 million years ago

Logic is helpful but you cannot rely on it. Ten perfectly logical scenarios could be used to explain what happened at a murder scene, but only one sequence of events truly happened. Logic is a good way to help prove your point, but you cannot rely on it because you can always make a logical counter argument that is just as strong if you try hard enough. That is the problem with logic; you can apply it to any side of an argument if you try hard enough.

When you make a point you should make it short

This is not a solid rule, but remember that people are not as smart as they think they are. Most have been raised by the TV and have the attention span of a wet turnip. Try making your point in a short way, and then expanding on it for the people that actually read your essay word for word.

Longer paragraphs are for when you get to the meat of a subject

Again, you need to show your short points as shorter paragraphs because some people are not going to keep reading if you have very large paragraphs. Make your point with a smaller paragraph and then expand with larger paragraphs.

An unconvincing counter argument is enough to turn people off

Imagine the counter arguments the reader makes and address them. If you do not address them fully then people will not believe what you are peddling and you will have failed.


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