In business the most important skill is communication. In an environment where ideas are the business, it is important to be able to communicate those ideas effectively. However, the most important piece of communication is the persuasive message. This is because most of the messages you send in the business world will be persuasive in some manner.
The Planning Process
There are certain steps you need to follow in order to plan an effective persuasive message. In fact, planning is the first step in creating effectively persuasive messages. If you don’t plan your persuasive message you can easily loose track of your audience and your goals. In planning an effective persuasive message you should first have an objective. This is the goal of the message and very important to keep you on track. Next, you need to target your audience. Who are you hoping to persuade?
When you are finished coming up with your goals and your audience it is time to gather your information. What do you know about your target audience? Organize the information in a format that you can understand. Lists actually are simple forms of organization. Start listing age, gender, nationality, or any other traits that your target audience encompasses. This will help you write your effective persuasive message.
The Creative Process
An effective persuasive message will provide answers before the questions have even been asked. In addition, effective persuasive messages will attract attention, build interest, and encourage desire. The overall message will entice the reader to perform some action. This is the ultimate goal of your message.
Now, the beginning of your message should grab your audience’s attention. You can’t persuade anyone to action if you can’t persuade them to read the rest of the message. Some items that may grab attention include an open ended question, a statement that your audience agrees with, a compliment and a lot of others. This is where you will use the information you gathered about your audience earlier.
Now, let me give you a couple examples of open ended questions that will help create an effective persuasive message. My goal here is to get individuals to donate to my charity. “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” Now, this statement does not ask mention anything about donating. In fact, it doesn’t even seem to be tied in yet. However, it does provoke thought and grabs attention. I would personally follow up with a statement such as, “Luckily, you don’t have to be a millionaire to help find a cure for cancer.”
An agreeable statement can also grab attention without giving away your message. “Cancer is a horribly painful disease to suffer from.” This sentence grabs attention by stating something your reader is sure to agree with.
Another attention grabber that can create an effective persuasive message is the compliment. An example of this might be the following statement. “We would like to thank Hartford Real estate for being one of the most thoughtful and caring businesses in Oklahoma.” This attention grabber needs some follow up but is a great way to introduce the message.
Now, it is time to explain the benefits. This process should be implemented with your audience in mind so that your end product will be an effective persuasive message. There are two ways to incorporate benefits. There are direct benefits and indirect benefits. Direct benefits for donating money for cancer research may include the fact that the patron receives a plaque saying they donated to your cancer research fund. An indirect or implied benefit may include a statement such as, “With your help we will be one step closer to a cure for cancer.” You should include at least one or two direct benefits.
Now, it is time for your request. This is conveniently positioned after your statement of benefits to help you create an effective persuasive message. This will allow you to build up there interest so that, by this point, they should be asking for the request. “How can I help cure Cancer?” Right after the request you will want to recap the benefits again. This reminds them of why they are going to go through with it.
To end the effective persuasive message you will want to use a friendly statement that gives a date that you would like to have some action occur. This might be contacting you by a certain date, or reserving a spot by a certain date, or letting you know they received your invitation by a certain date. Adding the date gives it urgency and ensures that the message does not end up in a procrastination pile with so many other messages.
Now, a couple of ways to ensure the effectiveness of your message will be the language you use and the type of appeals you incorporate. You want to be specific and use concrete language. “We treat 3,000 people every year.” The 3,000 makes this statement more profound and concrete. In addition, you will want to use descriptive language like the sentence used earlier. “Cancer is a horribly painful disease to suffer from.”
In addition, you will want to use emotional and rational appeals. That means you want to appeal to their emotional side with statements about helping to cure cancer. However, at the same time you want to give them cold, hard facts about treating 3,000 patients each year. It is also imperative for you to address the readers concerns. This is another place where your planning comes in handy since your audience can not ask you questions when you are writing. However, they will be asking these questions while they are reading and you should do your best to anticipate and address these questions. This advice along with the rest of the tips will ensure that your message is effective in its persuasion.