How to make your writing more persuasive

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Do you need to sell someone with your writing? Here’s how a Venn diagram can help you…

I was working with a client this morning who needs to make a big “ask” of some potential funders. For reasons of client confidentiality I can’t give you the details, but I can tell you the financial need exceeds $200,000.

This is a lot more money than the organization has ever asked for before, and —making matters even more challenging — they need the money in a hurry. It’s for a special project with an urgent deadline.

As I discussed with them how they could make the case to potential funders, I emphasized the importance of using superb graphic design. Sometimes, the pictures are more important than the words, and this is one of those times. It’s important that the “case” look pretty. That means large, attractive photos, and great headlines.

But the words aren’t unimportant either and they need to be carefully crafted. And here’s where a Venn diagram can help. The image at the top of this blog post displays a blank one. As you can see, it shows two overlapping circles.

  • Circle A shows the information that’s important to you, the writer.
  • Circle B shows the information that’s important to the reader — or in the case of my client, the potential funder.
  • The cross-hatched section in the middle shows where the writer’s and the reader’s interests intersect.

Whenever you’re writing, — especially if it’s persuasive writing — remember to keep the interests of your reader top of mind. Don’t just describe what you want or need. Instead, describe the benefits for the reader. If you can show that you are going to be meeting some of their needs, they’re far more likely to want to go along with what you’re asking for.

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