PRDV002: Professional Writing
Unit 2: The Art of Persuasion
Now that you have determined your audience, crafted your main point, and created an outline, it is time to draft your document. In this unit, you will learn how to craft a memo or email message that will reinforce your main point and persuade your audience. You will also learn how to eliminate common problems that may distract your reader from your main point.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 1.25 hours.
Take 5 minutes to review your outline and your notes about your audience. Throughout the drafting process, keep your notes in front of you, so you keep your audience and your purpose in mind throughout the process.
Read the subunits that follow. At the end of this section, you will be asked to write a rough draft of your document.
As you begin your draft, try to make a connection with your reader.
One of the best ways to connect to your reader is to say his or her name. When writing letters or emails, avoid generic salutations, such as "Hey Guys." It is much better to let your reader know the message is really intended for him or her by using a personalized salutation, such as Dear Mr. Smith, Dear Mary, etc. If you address a group of people too large to list individually, try to capture their identity as best as you can: Dear Sales Team, Financial Advisors, etc.
If your readers do not know you, consider introducing yourself. This does not mean providing your resume, rather you may tell your readers why they might want to continue reading even though they do not know you (e.g. "So and so referred me to you," "I am working on a high-priority project in the marketing department," etc.).
Once you have made a brief connection with your reader, you should get right to the point. Your point should be addressed in the first paragraph.
Now, you will draft the rest of your message to support your main point. There are several parts of your message that you will want to pay special attention to.
If you are writing a document or memo, make sure that your document title and file names are as descriptive as possible. Ideally, use terms or phrases from your main point, which will help alert your reader to your main idea. If you are writing an email message, make sure your subject line captures your main point. This will make it more likely that your reader will open your email. It also makes that specific e-mail easier to find later.
If your document has multiple sections, consider using section headers that summarize your sub-point and reinforce your main point.
If your document has multiple paragraphs, start each paragraph with a sentence that summarizes your sub-point and reinforces your main point; this is known as a topic sentence. Ideally, your reader should be able to glean your complete argument by reading only your opening paragraph and the first sentence of each subsequent paragraph. In fact, many readers in business settings do just this in order to save time.
Not only can key words help reinforce your point, they can also make documents easier to locate later, using search tools in email systems and on computers. Also, employers use keywords to recruit and screen potential candidates.
Do not alienate your reader with unfamiliar jargon. Rather than making you sound smart, you may confuse your reader. However, this does not mean that you have to dumb down your point. In fact, the most complex ideas are best expressed with language that your reader can understand. Then, your reader will focus on your argument rather than stopping to wonder what you are talking about.
Read this section. Then think about the story you are trying to tell in your document. Who is the main character? What is the primary action?
When you introduce a complex term for the first time in your document, make sure you define it first, so readers will not be confused. Then, make sure that your flow of information is built in a logical fashion.
Watch this video, then reflect on the flow of information in your outline.
Although professional writing is intended to be persuasive, do not use unethical methods to persuade.
Read this section. Review your outline and make sure that (1) your ideas are your own, (2) that your information is accurate and reliable, and (3) that you are not using any unethical methods to persuade your audience.
After reading through subunit 2.2, take approximately 30 minutes to write a rough draft of your document based on your outline.
Please take this assessment to check your understanding of the materials presented in this unit.
- There is no minimum required score to pass this assessment, and your score on this assessment will not factor into your overall course grade.
- This assessment is designed to prepare you for the Final Exam that will determine your course grade. Upon submission of your assessment you will be provided with the correct answers and/or other feedback meant to help in your understanding of the topics being assessed.
- You may attempt this assessment as many times as needed, whenever you would like.