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Writing to Persuade: Proven Techniques That Convince Others To Listen To You, Take You Seriously, And Change Their Minds

August 25, 2011

Plato and Aristotle in a highly condensed, readable form!

My book about how to argue effectively is now available on Amazon.com! I am in the process of getting them to ‘unlock’ it so that the reader can look inside it. I had no idea there was so much involved in the self-publishing process, but then, I’m a noob. You’ve gotta start somewhere, after all.

So, the book is called Writing to Persuade: Proven Techniques That Convince Others To Listen To You, Take You Seriously, And Change Their Minds, and is intended to be a guide for those who need to construct an effective argument.

These days, argumentation can include anything from writing political blogs, to letters to the editor of your local newspaper, to asking your father to buy you a car, to convincing a wide audience that their perspective is limited by a lack of information. What connects all of these writing situations is the need to persuade the listener or reader of your way of seeing something.

The goal with persuasion is not, in and of itself, to be proven ‘right,’ no matter how satisfying that might seem in the moment. Being right is often attained at the expense of furthering the conversation, and will also usually lose your audience. Your audience isn’t as concerned with who is right or wrong as they are with results. Effective argumentation shows you how to see an issue comprehensively, holistically, so that instead of focusing on ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ you become aware of the issues at stake.

An effective argument is usually an impassioned argument that contains enough believability and factual evidence, that it impresses your listener with the power of your position. To persuade is not to cajole, manipulate, or ‘sell’ someone on an idea. Instead, a truly persuasive argument educates. You broaden your audience’s awareness of a subject, with the goal of helping them understand the subject, and see it from your perspective.

To argue effectively is to gain the respect of your listener, no matter how opposed s/he is to your position. Anything less is not oratory or rhetoric in the traditional sense; it’s mud-slinging and manipulation, neither of which I believe in. If the goal of argumentation is to educate and enlighten, nothing comes of ad hominem attacks, or any of the many tactics used against one’s opponent.

That’s why I wrote this book: to provide an easy-to-read, quick, and accessible view of argumentation, and to show that it’s actually quite simple to persuade others when you have the goal of understanding each other in mind, rather than ‘winning’. This book is not about winning an argument, being right, or appearing smarter than your opponent; it’s about approaching the person you disagree with, with respect, realising that they have a right to their position.

And yet you will show them how your position is ultimately the better, more reasonable, sensible approach. That’s the essence of effective argumentation, just as it is in creative writing: show, don’t tell.

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