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Module 5: Persuasive Writing

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University of Waterloo
Judah Oudshoorn

Module 5: Persuasive Writing (May 31, 2012) Objectives: By the end of this module, you should be able to:  describe the appeals to emotion (pathos), logic (logos) and ethos,  arrange ideas to form a logical appeal, and  analyze a piece of persuasive writing according to Toulmin’s theory of argument. Readings Chapter 8 Writing Persuasively  We will all need to ask for a favour, present a new idea, promote a product, or explain how to solve a problem.  We will need to persuade someone of something.  Persuasion is the act of persuading (or attempting to persuade); communication intended to induce belief or action ( Five Steps to Help You Write Persuasively  Know your purpose and what you want the reader to do. o Make your request seem reasonable and beneficial. o Include information that will overcome resistance and make follow-up easy.  Understand what motivates your reader (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). o Know your reader’s goals and needs.  Write from the perspective of what your reader needs o Will your goal save time or money, solve a problem, or help to achieve a work objective?  Consider the design and layout. o Opinions will be made on the “look” of your document. o Layout, typography, and white space should be professional and attractive.  Be positive and accurate. o Use a sincere, confident tone, and “you”-centred language. o Avoid creating the impression that you are “giving orders.”  Anticipate objections and plan how to deal with them. o Respect the views of your reader o Frame your request as “win-win.”  Make sure they see how they will gain from your proposal o Use a “concession statement.” o Consider the longer-term benefits or the “bigger picture.” Persuasive Appeals  Persuasive messages appeal to the reader’s: o Sense of reason Support your argument with evidence, such as non-numerical facts, expert opinions, statistics, examples, and analogies.  Show clarity and use logical argument development: o Cause/effect o Problem/solution o Chronological Answer questions the reader will ask or will be thinking about.  Avoid errors in logic: o Mistaking coincidence for cause o Circular arguments o Begging the question o False analogies o Emotions, and Appeal to the reader’s emotions:  Use emotions to create a desire to act.  Base an emotional appeal on fact or reason.  Select words with emotional power (e.g., “special,” “deserve,” “free”).  Create “sense impressions” (by using words like “see,” “feel,” “hear,” “taste,” “smell”). o Sense of right (ethics) Appeal to the reader’s sense of right (ethics).  Establish your credibility before you write (if possible), or in your writing.  Strive to be believable, responsible, ethical.  Personal credibility is based on specialized knowledge, reputation, position, and familiarity. Specialized knowledge is the evidence you use to make a logical presentation.  Cite experts or sources trusted by your reader.  Reputation is determined by your character and past conduct.  Authority: o Business titles add leverage and respect (when not perceived as pompous or bullying).  Familiarity: o Trust is built by having a relationship or sharing common ground. Toulmin’s Model of Argumentation  The Claim. The Grounds. o The claim is the statement that describes the idea you are attempting to persuade the reader to accept. An example of a claim is: We should advertise on local radio. o The grounds are the facts that support your claim. The grounds should be as based on strong sources of evidence or they run the risk of becoming claims themselves. According to a Smith and Smith marketing report, our customer demographic aligns with the largest listener group of the local station, estimated to be 200,000 individuals  The Warrant . Backing. o The warrant is the link between claim and grounds. Often it is left implied, but at times is written as part of the argument. The warrant of our example is:We can reach our customers via local radio. o Backing provides additional support for the warrant. Backing differs from grounds in direct relevance; it supports the warrant with additional, but less crucial facts. For example, We can redistribute our marketing budget by decreasing our expenditures in newspaper and flyer marketing to allow us to add local radio to our mix without increasing our overall marketing expenses.  The Qualifier. The
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