Do you have a problem getting through to people? Do your emails, proposals, and business speeches flatten faster than soft-serve ice-cream on a hot day?
This is not about power trips. You don’t need an important-sounding designation, fancy words or thousands of followers on social media. No, really.
What you need, though, are delicious little breadcrumbs that lead people to understand, and buy into, your informed opinion. I’m assuming your opinions are informed because, if they aren’t, then there is very little separating you from a crazy person!
Whether you’re a managing director, teacher, business developer, service attendant, or a blogger who wants to hog every sponsorship deal out there, you benefit from having people understand your emails, memos, proposals and promotions with full clarity.
When you can write persuasively, you are able to free up time, time from explaining, disputes and uncertainty, to accomplish so much more surfing Netflix, or shopping online.
Here’s how to write persuasively:
1) FRAME THE STORY PROPERLY
This is not the time to be stare off into the horizon and be Thought Catalog. Every time you meander into the naval-gazing forest of Narnia, someone dies.
Point to the topic being discussed, and address a specific issue related to it. Don’t beat about the bush. This issue should be one you’re trying to resolve together.
Remind the reader why you’re talking about this, how this issue escalated, why this needs to be resolved, and how you intend to do it to benefit all involved.
For example: A letter to a stubborn tenant can go like this:
I understand the pipe in the bathroom has burst again. I received several complaints from the neighbours downstairs, and they’re not happy because it has happened three times in the last six months. I don’t doubt your plumbing ability, but we should have a professional guy come in to assess and fix the pipes. If the neighbours’ property is damaged due to the constant leaks, we could have a real cost issue on our hands. Let’s try to avoid that.”
2) SHOW EMPATHY
If you can demonstrate how you GET your reader’s problems, you have one foot through the door. In order to convince, you have to show your ability to be in your reader’s shoes.
“I understand you’re trying to save money by fixing the plumbing yourself, but if the situation persists, the monetary damages could set you back twice, or thrice, what you’ve saved from hiring a professional plumber. This would undo all the savings you’ve worked so hard for.”
3) USE LOGICAL THOUGHT AND EVIDENCE
With evidence and common sense, you can create a powerful case for your view.
“We agreed that you should try fixing the pipes when they had burst the first couple of times, in order to save us time and money from engaging a plumber. The neighbours were patient enough to not insist on compensation for their damaged rugs. This is the third time, and all evidence is pointing to the fact that professional help is needed.”
4) CREATE AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE
The downtrodden, the disadvantaged, the sickly, they are adamant that the system is against them. Understandably, they have a basic need for connection. It’s not that different when it comes to business partners, your staff, or neighbours. Let them know you’re both on the same side.
“Why don’t we do this. Let’s engage a professional plumber to look at the pipes, and I know it’s not in the tenancy agreement, but we can split the fees. I want to pacify the neighbours too.”
5) LINK YOUR POINT TO YOUR INTENT
Finally, appeal to the reason in your readers again, to link your point to the resolution.
“The sooner we get the pipes fixed from professional help, the sooner the neighbours will cease their complaints. And you can have the peace of mind that the pipes won’t be bursting any time soon.”