Influence Through Writing

Let’s talk about getting people to do what you want, not through mind control, but through effective writing. By following some simple steps, you can significantly increase the likelihood that your reader will take the desired action. It’s all about understanding human behaviour and making your message easy to grasp.

Understanding Human Behavior

Humans are generally helpful, but they have limits. They’re willing to invest some time to fulfil your request, but only if it’s worth it. When it comes to writing, people form quick impressions—much faster than you might think. Research suggests that readers typically give new emails or letters only three to five seconds before deciding whether it’s worth their attention. Therefore, you need to convey your main points swiftly and clearly.

To effectively persuade through writing, consider the following best practices:

  1. Easy to Find: Your action items and main points should be readily apparent. Don’t bury them in the middle of your text. Instead, place them prominently near the beginning to ensure they’re
  2. Easy to Understand: Make sure your message is clear and Tailor the level of detail to your purpose and audience. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish and who you’re addressing. Use plain language and avoid unnecessary jargon.
  3. Grouped Together: Keep all action items together rather than scattering them throughout the document. This ensures that nothing gets Additionally, consider the background information you provide. While it’s essential to accommodate different readers, be mindful not to overwhelm them with unnecessary details.

Let’s look at how to apply these principles :

1.       Easy to Find:

When you’re writing, make sure your most important points are right up front where they can’t be missed. Imagine you’re writing an email to your team about a change in company policy. Instead of burying the main details in the middle of a paragraph, put them at the beginning of your message. For example:

“Starting next month, we’ll be implementing a new remote work policy. Please review the attached document for details on how this will affect your schedule and responsibilities.”

This way, your team knows immediately what the email is about and can act accordingly. It’s like how credit card ads always highlight their best offers at the top of the page.

2.       Easy to Understand:

When crafting your message, think about who you’re writing for and what you want them to do. Use simple, straightforward language that everyone can understand. Let’s say you’re sending instructions to your team on how to submit their weekly reports. Instead of using technical jargon or complicated explanations, keep it clear and concise:

“Please submit your weekly reports by 5 PM every Friday using the online form provided. If you have any questions or encounter any issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.”

This way, everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them without any confusion. It’s all about considering your audience and tailoring your message to their needs.

3.       Grouped Together:

When laying out your message, organise related information in a logical order and keep it all together. Avoid scattering important details throughout your text, as this can make it difficult for readers to follow. For example, if you’re outlining the agenda for an upcoming meeting, list all the topics in a clear and sequential manner:

“Agenda for Monday’s Meeting:

  • Review quarterly sales figures
  • Discuss upcoming marketing campaign
  • Address any outstanding HR issues
  • Plan team-building activities for next month”

By grouping your action items together like this, you make it easy for your team to see what needs to be done and in what order. And

if you need to provide background information, label it clearly and place it below the action items so it doesn’t distract from the main points.