How to Write a Persuasive Essay

How to write a persuasive essay

There is an art to persuasive writing and many people seem to struggle to master it. While it comes naturally to some, for others a little practice may be required. The important thing to remember is that anyone can actually write persuasively, provided they follow a few basic guidelines.

A persuasive essay is written to convince the reader to accept a point of view. You may want them to sympathize with your cause or to take a particular course of action. Persuasive essays are often used in advertising and politics. Business proposals, applications for study grants, fundraising, debates etc. are all examples when persuasive writing may be beneficial. People who are good at this style of writing are in high demand.

If you are trying to convince someone to side with you, you’ll want to be thoroughly prepared. It doesn’t help if you have a list of excellent points but fail to pay attention to the weak arguments. By following the following simple steps, you should be able to come up with a strong case on which to build upon.

Planning and Preparation

Before you even begin writing a persuasive essay, it’s crucial that you take the time to do the preparation. Every aspect of your essay needs to be considered. Begin with deciding on your stance. Think about why you have chosen this position. What are the motivating factors? Do you have facts to support your case?

Another important consideration is understanding your audience. Who are they? Do they have strong opinions, or are they undecided? What are they looking for and what appeals to them? The more you can appeal to their needs and interests, the more persuasive you will be.

Finally, you need to research, research and do more research. You need to come across as a person who knows what he or she is talking about. If you have your facts wrong, it will weaken, if not destroy, your argument before you even begin. Don’t rely on just one source. The more information you are armed with, the greater your chances of shooting down any opposition.

Style and Structure

Any persuasive essay should follow a logical progression. The best way to do this is to begin with an introduction. Your introduction needs to immediately grab the readers’ attention. You should provide a brief overview of your argument and state why your case is worthy of merit.

The main body of your persuasive essay will detail the evidence in support of your case. Each section should deal with one piece of information, presented separately. It’s important to provide evidence in support of all your facts.

Before closing, you should highlight the major points of any counter argument. Again, it’s essential that you provide evidence that refutes opposition to your stance. You can make use of quotes from experts, can include real life examples or refer to relevant facts and statistics.

Your conclusion needs to be a short synopsis of what has already been stated. Your closing sentence should be dramatic. It should leave the audience wanting to take immediate action or to reflect deeply on what you propose. Provide solutions to problems and encourage the reader not to delay.

Revision

One aspect of writing a persuasive essay which is often omitted is the importance of revision. There are a few questions you should ask when revision your essay. Does the essay impart enough information? You shouldn’t expect your audience to know everything, so the more information you can provide them with will allow them to make an informed decision. Do your points contain compelling evidence in support of your argument? Making wild, unsubstantiated claims will set you up for failure. Each point of merit needs to be justified. Does the essay follow a logical path? Are words carefully chosen for maximum impact or is the essay difficult to read with little meaningful information? Does the essay present the strongest possible argument or does it require more facts?

Editing

Once you have finalized your persuasive essay, you need to make sure it is free from any typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Ask a friend or relative to read through it, and ask them for their point of view. Remember, you’re not trying to convince yourself. You’re trying to convince others who may not have the same insights as you.

Presentation

Once everything is complete you’ll be faced with the task of presenting your essay. Make sure a good, easily readable font is used. Each section should be clearly identifiable with relevant headings. If you’re familiar and well versed with the content of your presentation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to successfully persuade those who read your essay.

(Photo courtesy of brett jordan)

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