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 be credible, must have a strong argument, and must be able to tap the emotions of an audience.

If you don’t have credibility, Aristotle said, everything else is a waste of time. The audience must perceive you as being believable and legitimate, whether your message is written or spoken, and your credibility suffers when people see or hear grammatical errors. The reader or listener does not need to know exactly what the mistake is; the person simply needs to know intuitively “that isn’t right” and her perception of you might be tainted. Learning six important principles of grammar will improve your writing significantly, and it is not as difficult as many people think.

The element of conciseness is important to presenting a strong argument. People too often dilute their argument by making it too wordy or by including too much information (covering too many ideas). Stay focused on your main point; don’t pull in marginally relevant details, which will only obscure the thrust of your argument. And be a sharp editor, removing words and phrases that do not contribute to the main thought. For example, in the second sentence of this paragraph, my original beginning said, “A common mistake that people make is that they dilute their argument … ” By changing it to “People too often dilute their argument … ” I saved six words.