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Chapter 9. Writing Persuasive Messages. Chapter 9 Objectives. Discuss the planning tasks that need extra attention when preparing persuasive messages. Distinguish between emotional and logical needs and how to balance them. Describe the AIDA plan.

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chapter 9

Chapter 9

Writing Persuasive Messages

chapter 9 objectives
Chapter 9 Objectives
  • Discuss the planning tasks that need extra attention when preparing persuasive messages.
  • Distinguish between emotional and logical needs and how to balance them.
  • Describe the AIDA plan.
  • Explain how to overcome resistance to your message and list four common mistakes.
  • Compare sales and fundraising messages.
  • List eight guidelines that will help you strengthen your fundraising messages.
writing persuasive messages
Writing Persuasive Messages
  • Persuasion is the attempt to change an audience’s attitudes, beliefs, or actions.
  • Following the three-step writing process helps you make your persuasive messages more effective.
  • Persuasive messages differ from routine positive messages in numerous ways:
    • They target audiences who are inclined to resist.
    • They are generally longer.
    • They are usually more detailed.
    • They often depend heavily on strategic planning.
step 1 planning
Step 1: Planning
  • When planning persuasive messages (Step 1), you must
    • Make sure your message is clear, necessary, and appropriate for written media
    • Delve more deeply when analyzing your audience
    • Pay extra attention to your credibility
    • Make sure your ethics are above reproach
step 1 planning1
Step 1: Planning
  • Persuasive messages (especially external ones) can be difficult because
    • People in your audience are busy and reluctant to take on anything new
    • Competing requests are plentiful
    • Everyone’s needs differ, so everyone responds differently to any given message
step 1 planning2
Step 1: Planning
  • When analyzing your audience, ask yourself these important questions:
    • Who are the members of my audience?
    • What are their needs?
    • What do I want them to do?
    • How might they resist?
    • Are there alternative positions I need to examine?
    • What does the decision-maker consider the most important issue?
    • How might the organization’s culture influence my strategy?
step 1 planning3
Step 1: Planning
  • Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is based on the belief that needs have priority and that the most basic needs must be satisfied first:
    • Survival (physiological) needs: Air, food, water, sleep, shelter
    • Safety and security needs: Personal confidence, stability, protection from enemies
    • Social needs: Affection, friendship, group ties
    • Esteem and status needs: Self-worth, uniqueness, respect, community
    • Self-actualization needs: Creativity, self-realization, wisdom, vocation
step 1 planning4
Step 1: Planning
  • Once you’ve analyzed the need that is motivating your audience, you can craft an appeal that will interest audience members in taking the action you propose.
  • To assess needs, you can refer to specific information, such as
    • Demographics: Your audience’s age, gender, occupation, income, and education
    • Psychographics: Your audience’s personality, attitudes, and lifestyle
  • Demographics and psychographics are strongly influenced by cultural expectations and practices.
step 1 planning5
Step 1: Planning
  • To persuade a skeptical or hostile audience, you must convince people that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re not trying to mislead them.
  • Credibility is your capability of being believed because you’re reliable and worthy of confidence.
establishing credibility
Establishing Credibility
  • Support your message with facts.
  • Name your sources.
  • Be an expert.
  • Establish common ground.
  • Show enthusiasm.
  • Be objective.
  • Show sincerity.
  • Be trustworthy.
  • Indicate good intentions.
step 1 planning6
Step 1: Planning
  • The best businesspeople make persuasion a positive (rather than a negative) activity, influencing audience members by
    • Allowing audiences the freedom to choose
    • Providing information and aiding understanding
    • Informing audiences of the benefits of an idea, a product, a donation, a firm, and so on
step 2 writing
Step 2: Writing
  • When writing persuasive messages, you need to
    • Define your main idea
    • Limit the scope of your message
    • Group your points in a meaningful way
    • Chose the direct or the indirect approach
writing persuasive messages1
Writing Persuasive Messages
  • Most persuasive messages use the indirect approach – explaining reasons and building interest before revealing the purpose.
  • Your choice between the direct and the indirect approach is influenced by
    • Your audience’s probable reaction
    • Your audience’s and your organization’s preferences
    • Your authority, expertise, or power in the organization.
step 3 completing
Step 3: Completing
  • When completing persuasive messages, you must make sure that you
    • Judge your argument objectively
    • Seriously appraise your credibility
    • Carefully match the purpose and organization to audience needs
    • Design your message to complement your argument
    • Choose a delivery method that fits your audience’s expectations
    • Proofread for any mechanical or spelling errors that would weaken your argument
sending persuasive messages
Sending Persuasive Messages
  • In persuasive messages, you must communicate your main idea and reasons, but you must also motivate your audience to do something.
  • Four strategies for persuasive messages are
    • Balancing emotional and logical appeals
    • Framing your arguments
    • Reinforcing your position
    • Dealing with resistance
appeals for persuasion
Appeals for Persuasion

A balance between two types of appeals, the logical appeal and the emotional appeal, depends on these factors:

  • Actions you wish to motivate
  • Reader’s expectations
  • Degree of resistance you must overcome
  • Your authority in selling your point of view
appeals for persuasion1
Appeals for Persuasion
  • Lean toward logic and keep your emotional appeal subtle when you want someone to
    • Accept a complex idea
    • Take a serious step
    • Make an important decision
  • Rely a bit more heavily on emotion when you want someone to
    • Purchase a product
    • Join a cause
    • Make a donation
logical appeals
Logical Appeals
  • A logical appeal calls on human reason, basing the argument on making a claim and then supporting that claim with reasons or evidence.
  • When using logical appeals, you might use three types of reasoning:
    • Analogy: Reasoning from specific evidence to specific evidence
    • Induction: Reasoning from specific evidence to a general conclusion
    • Deduction: Reasoning from a generalization to a specific conclusion
guidelines for a logical sound argument
Guidelines for a Logical, Sound Argument

Avoid hasty generalizations

Avoid begging the question

Avoid attacking your opponent

Avoid oversimplifying a complex opponent

Avoid assuming a false cause

Avoid faulty analogies

Avoid illogical support

aida plan
  • When framing a persuasive argument, effective businesspeople use the AIDA plan:
    • Attention: Your opening does more than simply serve as a buffer, it grabs your audience’s attention.
    • Interest: Your explanation does more than present reasons, it incites your audience’s interest.
    • Desire: Your continued explanation does more than present benefits, it changes your audience’s attitude.
    • Action: Your close does more than end on a positive note, it emphasizes reader benefits and motivates readers to take specific action.
how to strengthen a persuasive message
Use semantics effectively.

Be moderate.

Focus on your goal.

Use simple language.

Anticipate opposition.

Provide support.

Be specific.

Create a win-win situation.

Time your message to be effective.

Speak metaphorically and use anecdotes.

How to Strengthena Persuasive Message
audience resistance
Audience Resistance
  • The best way to deal with audience resistance is to eliminate it by
    • Presenting all sides
    • Uncovering audience objections through “What if?” scenarios
    • Asking audience members for their thoughts on the subject before building your argument
    • Perhaps even turning problems into opportunities
good persuasive messages
Good Persuasive Messages
  • Don’t use a hard-sell.
  • Don’t resist compromise.
  • Don’t rely solely on great arguments.
  • Don’t try to persuade audiences in a one-shot effort.
persuasive requests for action
Persuasive Requests for Action

Use the AIDA plan to frame your message:

  • Show readers that you know about their concerns.
  • Show that you know about the situation you’re requesting action on by using facts and figures. Explain to your readers that helping you will help solve a significant problem.
  • Close with a request for a specific action.
strategies for sales messages
Strategies for Sales Messages

Determine your selling point and benefits

Keep in mind legal aspects of your message

Be liberal in your use of action words

Be careful when talking about price

Support your claims

how to grab your audience s attention
How to Grab Your Audience’s Attention
  • Provide a piece of genuine news.
  • Appeal personally to the reader’s emotions.
  • Tout your product’s most attractive feature.
  • Provide some intriguing numbers.
  • Include a sample of the product.
  • Reinforce a concrete illustration with some story appeal.
  • Share a specific trait with the audience.
  • Issue a challenge.
  • Provide a solution to a problem.

Let’s Discuss

Test Your Knowledge

  • How do emotional appeals differ from logical appeals?
  • What is the AIDA plan, and how does it apply to persuasive messages?
  • What are four common mistakes to avoid when developing a persuasive message to overcome resistance?
  • What are the similarities and differences between sales messages and fundraising messages?

Let’s Discuss

Test Your Knowledge


  • What are some questions to ask when gauging the audience’s needs during the planning of a persuasive message?
  • What role do demographics and psychographics play in audience analysis during the planning of a persuasive message?
  • What are four ways you can build credibility with an audience when planning a persuasive message?

Let’s Discuss

Test Your Knowledge


  • What three types of reasoning can you use in logical appeals?
  • How can semantics affect a persuasive message?
  • How do benefits differ from features?