Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thinking well and selling your reader

The question we must answer, then, is this: How do you sell your reader? There are four obvious essentials:

Have something to say that's really worth his attention.

Be sold on its validity and importance yourself so that you can sell it with conviction.

Furnish strong arguments that are well supported with concrete proof: facts, examples, and quotations from authorities.

Use language that sells — vigorous verbs, strong nouns, and confidently assertive phrasing.

There are five specific ways you can serve your reader's needs. Please add them to the list of four essentials of selling that I gave you a minute ago; and as you read them, note how they apply to conversation as well as to writing:

Phrase your thoughts clearly so that you're easy to follow.

Speak to the point so that you don't waste your reader's time.

Anticipate his many questions and responses.

Offer him variety and humor to keep him interested.

Converse with him in a warm, friendly, open manner instead of pontificating to him like a self-important pedant.

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