From emails to reports, posts to books, whenever you put your fingers to the keyboard, you have one goal: to persuade. For example, please read this, buy this, believe this, promote me, or hire me.

So, here are my top three tips to write persuasively:

  1. Clarity
    Make your point clearly and in a variety of ways. Define what you are talking about, what you are not talking about, what it looks or feels like, and explore what critics might think of your point.
  2. Share stories
    I count anecdotes, metaphors, and examples as stories. Stories are evidence. They are emotionally persuasive. This idea is like my grandfather’s pipe: smokin’ hot (metaphor). A classic example of persuasive writing was a TV slogan for Ryvita biscuits: “Win the inch war (metaphor)” with a picture of a woman measuring her waist. (Sexist, but persuasive.)
  3. Tell me why
    What’s in it for me? Will I stop a child from starving, get a slimmer waist, win that big gig? Do not assume I will read your report and give you feedback just because it’s my job. Persuade me to put it to the top of my to-do list?

When are you at your most persuasive?