Module 13 Composing Persuasive Messages
What are persuasive appeals?
People are persuaded by their perceptions of:
1. The trustworthiness of the messengers
2. The emotional and logical resonances of the message
Persuasive Messages - Purpose
1. Primary Purposes
- Have the reader react
- Provide enough information (reader know what to do)
- Overcome any objections that prevent or delay action
2. Secondary Purposes
- Establish a good impression of the writer
- Build a good image of the writer’s organization
- Build a good relationship between the reader and writer
- Reduce or eliminate future correspondence on the same subject
- Orders and requests
- Proposals and recommendations
- Sales and fundraising letters
- Job application letters
- Reports, if they recommend action
- Efforts to change people’s behaviour (collection letters, criticisms or performance appraisals,
public service ads designed to reduce drunk driving…)
What is the best persuasive strategy?
It depends on how much and what kinds of resistance you expect.
Most important persuasive technique: making a positive first impression establish credibility
Four Persuasive Strategies
1. Direct Request (Deductive/Good News)
- The audience is likely to object to doing as you ask
- You need a response only from the people who are willing to act
- The audience is busy and may not read all the messages received
- Your organization’s culture prefers direct requests
2. Indirect Request ( Problem-solving, Inductive, Bad News)
- The audience is likely to object to doing as you ask
- You need action from everyone
- You trust the audience to read the entire message
- You expect logic to be more important than emotion in the decision
3. Sales 4. Reward and Punishment
- Limited use
- Don’t produce permanent change
- Produce psychological reactance
How should I organize persuasive messages?
In direct requests, start with the request when you anticipate ready agreement, when you fear
that a busy reader may not read a message whose relevance isn’t clear.
In a problem-solving message, start with problem you share.
When you expect quick agreement, save the reader’s time by presenting the request directly.
Writing Direct Request
1. Consider asking immediately for the information or service you want. Delay the request if it
seems too abrupt or if you have several purpose in the message
2. Give readers all the information and details they will need to act on your request. (Bullet
formreader can check to see that all of them have been answered; explain the
circumstances; include all the relevant details)
Request for Action
3. Ask for the action you want.
Organizing Problem Solving Messages
- used when you expect resistance from the reader
- allows you to anticipate and overcome objections Request for Action
1. mention the problem you share objectively
2. detail them results of the problem as they affect the readers
(Be specific about the cost of the money, lost goodwill, inconvenience…)
3. explain the solution to the problem
(Focus on practicality, workability, and desirability without using I or my)
4. Prove that any negative elements(cost,time,concerns) are outweighed by the advantages
5. Summarize any additional benefits of the solution
6. Ask for the action you want Shared Problem
How do I identify and overcome objections?
Know your audience. Talk to your audience. Then try these strategies.
Ask knowledgeable people in your network/organization. Solution
Use open questions and phrase your question neutrally Negatives
What makes a decision about Y? What do you like the best about*?
Ask follow-up questions to be sure you understand.
Would you be likely to stay with your current supplier if you could Request for Action
Get a lower price from someone else? Why?
We have a vested interest in something when we benefit directly from keeping things as they
Give the response to the objection without naming the objection. If real objections remain, try the following strategies:
1. Specify how much time or money is required ( it may not be as much as the reader fears)
2. Put the time or money in the context of the benefits they bring
3. Show that money spent now wil save money in long run
4. Show that doing as you ask will benefit a group or a cause the reader supports, although
the action may not help the reader directly
5. Show the reader that the sacrifice is necessary to achieve a large, more important goal to
which he or she is committed.
6. Show that the advantages as a group outnumber or outweigh the disadvantages as a group
7. Turn a disadvantage into an opportunity
What other techniques make my messages more persuasive?
Build credibility and emotional appeal. Use the right tone, and offer a reason to act promptly.
- Credibility is the response to the source of the message
- People are more easily persuaded by someone they see as expert, powerful, trustworthy.
Build Rational Appeal
- Build credibility by the language and strategy you use
- Be factual use concrete language, supportive, statistics
- Be specific details
- Be reliable if you suspect the project will cost more, tell your audience immediately
Build Emotional Appeal
- Making the reader want to do what you ask
- Works better when people want to be persuaded
- Finding common ground
。 Understand the audience’s biases, needs, fears
。 Common ground based on a respect for, and sensitivity to your audience’s position
。 When you can understand the reader’s point of view, you will be more effective
。 Common ground are specific, and focus on something the reader cares about
- Stories and psychological description
。 Stories are more persuasive because p