Archive: Effective Writing

Using Stories to Influence Your Audience

Storytelling, long overlooked as a means of persuasion, can influence audiences because when people focus on a storyline they pay less attention to subtle messages. There are two ways to persuade people. One is through advocacy messages, such as advertisements or...

To be Persuasive, Change the Comparison

The ability to overcome resistance is the key to being persuasive, because persuasion is rarely necessary unless the audience says it doesn’t like your idea, doesn’t believe your message, or doesn’t want to do comply with your request. So if resistance is the one...

Semicolons create crisp writing

Semicolons can strengthen your writing by removing a word and tightening the connection between the ideas on both sides. For whatever reason, some people have the strange notion that semicolons are for “show-offs,” that they reflect an arrogance. Where...

Simplified doesn’t mean simplistic

When you are writing for scanners on the Web, simplifying writing is particularly important, and no one should fear that they are “dumbing it down.” People rarely spend much time on a given page, unless they have a particular reason to dig deeply or unless...

Read Carefully Before Removing “That”

The word “that” is often unnecessary, but not always. Be sure you don’t cause readers to stumble. “Get rid of ‘that’; you don’t need it” is common advice, but as is often true with nuggets of wisdom about writing, it...

Persuasion success demands good writing

If you want to be persuasive, write economically or you risk burying your argument, and be careful of grammar or your credibility will plunge. Aristotle laid down the core elements of a persuasion message when he said that for anyone to be persuasive, the person must...