Effective Persuasion: Developing Persuasive Documents



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  • Overview
  • This presentation will cover:
  • The persuasive context.
  • The role of the audience.
  • What to research and cite.
  • How to establish your credibility.
  • What is Persuasive
  • Writing?
  • Persuasive writing seeks to convince its readers to embrace the point-of-view presented by appealing to the audience’s reason and understanding through argument and/or entreaty.
  • Persuasive Genres
  • You encounter persuasion every day:
  • TV Commercials
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Junk mail
  • Magazine ads
  • College brochures
  • Can you think of other persuasive contexts?
  • Understand your audience.
  • Support your opinion.
  • Know the various sides of your issue.
  • Respectfully address other points of view.
  • Find common ground with your audience.
  • Establish your credibility.
  • When to Persuade
  • an Audience
  • Your organization needs funding for a project.
  • Your boss wants you to make recommendations for a course of action.
  • You need to shift someone’s current point of view to build common ground so action can be taken.
  • Who is your audience?
  • What beliefs do they hold about the topic?
  • What disagreements might arise between you and your audience?
  • How can you refute counterarguments with respect?
  • Understanding Your Audience
  • What concerns does your audience face?
  • For example:
  • Do they have limited funds to distribute?
  • Do they feel the topic directly affects them?
  • How much time do they have to consider your document?
  • Understanding Your Audience
  • Help your audience relate to your topic.
  • Appeal to their hearts as well as their minds.
  • Use anecdotes when appropriate
  • Paint your topic in with plenty of detail
  • Involve the reader’s senses in these sections
  • Researching an Issue
  • Become familiar with all sides of an issue.
  • You can try to:
  • Find common ground.
  • Understand the history of the topic.
  • Predict counterarguments your audience might make.
  • Find strong support for your own perspective.
  • Researching an Issue
  • Find common ground with your audience.
  • For example:
    • Point of Opposition: You might support a war, whereas your audience might not.
    • Common ground: Both sides want to see their troops come home.
  • Researching an Issue
  • Predict counterarguments.
  • For example:
    • Your Argument: Organic produce from local Farmers’ Markets is better than store-bought produce.
    • The Opposition: Organic produce is too expensive.
  • Support Your
  • Perspective
  • Appeal to the audience’s reason:
  • Use statistics and reputable studies.
  • Cite experts on the topic:
  • Do they back up what you say?
  • Do they refute the other side?
  • Cite Sources with
  • Some Clout
  • Which source would a reader find more credible?
  • The New York Times
  • http://www.myopinion.com
  • Which person would a reader be more likely to believe?
  • Joe Smith from Fort Wayne, IN.
  • Dr. Susan Worth, Prof. of Criminology at Purdue University.
  • Cite credible sources
  • Cite sources correctly and thoroughly.
  • Use professional language (and design).
  • Edit out all errors.
  • Cite Sources Ethically
  • Don’t misrepresent a quote or leave out important information.
    • Misquote: “Crime rates were down by 2002,” according to Dr. Smith.
    • Actual quote: “Crime rates were down by 2002, but steadily began climbing again a year later,” said Dr. Smith.
  • Tactics to Avoid
  • Don’t lecture or talk down to your audience.
  • Don’t make threats or “bully” your reader.
  • Don’t employ guilt trips.
  • Be careful if using the second person, “you.”
  • Where to Go
  • for More Help
  • Purdue University Writing Lab, Heavilon 226
  • Check our web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu
  • Email brief questions to OWL Mail:
  • https://owl.english.purdue.edu/contact/owlmailtutors
  • The End
  • EFFECTIVE PERSUASION
  • DANA BISIGNANI
  • Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab


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