Four strategies for persuasive writing
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folk don't enjoy having to write proposals, memos,
reports and the dozen other things that seem to get
in the way of their *real* work. Nonetheless, if it's
your job to do it, you need to be able to do it well.
do this, we need to look at how to construct a persuasive
argument. To write persuasively, you need to answer
four key questions before you start:
HOW ARE YOU PERCEIVED BY THE PERSON READING YOUR PROPOSAL?
If you received a stock-market tip as an unsolicited
e-mail message would you take it seriously? Of course
not. What, though, if you received a tip from a
long-time friend who was a rich and successful investor?
Would you take *that* seriously? Almost certainly.
The differences here are *credibility* and *trust*.
How likely is your proposal to be successful if
it lacks these qualities?
So, before you start to write your proposal, you
need to know in what regard you're held. Do you
have an existing reputation for credibility, or
will you need to establish one?
HOW CAN YOU SHOW THAT YOU'RE PROVIDING WHAT THE CLIENT
You must overcome the natural suspicion that you're
proposing something that's in your own best interests.
If you're really more interested in getting the
grant, increasing your budget, selling a product
or lessening your workload, it will be very difficult
to establish a persuasive argument to the contrary.
It is thus vitally important that you really *are*
submitting a proposal that will solve the reader's
problems. It's no use submitting a pie-in-the-sky
proposal and hoping that the reader won't notice
that you're the main beneficiary.
You need to come up with a win-win proposal that
makes such good sense that the reader would be a
fool not to accept it.
IS YOUR PROPOSAL PRESENTED WELL?
There's more to a good presentation than just putting
your proposal in a nice binding. Indeed, an overly
elaborate binding can backfire. You run the risk
that your proposal might be seen as having more
form than substance.
Here are some things you need to consider. Will
it stand by itself, or will it be accompanied by
an audio-visual presentation? Will it be the only
one on the client's desk, or will it be one of a
dozen? What length is the client expecting? Does
is contain a clear summary of the problem and your
WHO IS THE MESSAGE DIRECTED AT?
It helps to understand a bit about the preferences
of the person (or persons) reviewing your proposal.
What type of information do they like to receive?
For example, let's suppose you knew that either
John or George would read your proposal. John is
a real "numbers man" -- he likes to receive
pages and pages of technical details and return-on-investment
analyses. He likes charts and data.
George, on the other hand, is an "ideas man"
-- he goes with his gut. He'll carefully read your
executive summary and recommendations, flip through
the rest of the pages then make his decision.
Would knowing which of these two people was going
to review your proposal change the way you wrote
Sure it would. Here then are a couple of questions
to ask yourself about the person (or persons) who
will evaluate your proposal:
* Do they focus on details, or do they prefer the
* Are they willing to act unilaterally, or are they
* Are they willing to take risks, or are they conservative?
* Are they technically adept, financially adept
* Are they the ultimate decision maker, or do they
have to bump your proposal up the line?
These may not be the easiest questions to answer,
but armed with this sort of extra information, you're
in a better position to construct a persuasive argument.
find many more helpful tips like these in Tim North's
much applauded range of e-books. More information
is available on his web site, and all books come with
a money-back guarantee. http://www.BetterWritingSkills.com
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