John Jacobs shares a few leads

The art of persuasive writing – a book review/summary

I have lots of really great ideas. If only people would put them into practice the worlds problems would be solved.
Sadly this has yet to happen. So what’s missing? Hmm, perhaps if I could write more persuasively….

Enter Lindsay J Camp and the distillation of his 25 years as a copy writer, “Can I change your mind: The art of persuasive writing”
I swallowed this very digestible book almost whole in one sitting. It is both amusing and nutritious.

What really resonated with me being a User Experience guy is his key point – Always think of your reader first.

That, like the rest of the book, is deceptively simple but very potent. You’re probably time poor like me so here’s a summary of the tips for writers that caught my eye.

  • Always think of the reader first. (Never waste their time or speak down to them)
  • Address an individual.
  • Have a goal.
  • Have a clear message.
  • Summarise in an introduction.
  • Speak as you write.
  • Vary sentence length.
  • End sentences on the down beat.
  • Use rhetorical questions, they stand in for the voice of the reader.
  • Don’t worry overly about punctuation.
  • Use the simplest word that still conveys the meaning and satisfies the reader.
  • End with a clear call to action

Extra strategies worth trying

  • Key phrases in bold or in pull-out boxes.
  • Use a PS to sum up and make it visually findable, as readers often skip to the end to see if it is worth reading through.

You can read a few excerpts here


Filed under: Media

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