A Simple Lesson For Writing In a Manner That Best Persuades, Best Inspires, and Best Motivates, the Reader

By: Scott McEachern, legal practitioner coach

Businessperson writing a letter on a laptop computer To communicate with greater persuasion, when selling a product or service or opinion or position, especially within writing such as email where body language and voice inflection is absent, a good writer will write to the reader rather than from the writer.  Indeed, when a person writes from the writer, the person tells; but, when a person writes to the reader, the person sells.

Write to the Reader Rather Than From the Writer

Writing to the reader means to write in a style conducive to what you want the reader to read and understand and feel rather than just what you want to say.  This seems confusing at first and does take some practice.  To learn the skill, simply start by placing yourself in the reader's shoes.  As the reader, what would you want to read (hear), especially subconsciously?

The most special thing a person can ever hear is their own name.  Accordingly, make your writings about the reader's perspective rather than the writer's perspective.

In the legal world, which of the following do you think would be more persuasive if you need to obtain consent to an adjournment request from a lawyer?

Dear Bob:
I need an adjournment on the upcoming trial.  I am unavailable due to a conflict in my schedule.  I would like a consent to adjourn.  Please let me know.

Dear Bob:
Hope you are well. 
By writing to you, your position is sought on adjourning the forthcoming trial due to a scheduling conflict.  Rather than you attending on the day of, your advance consent to adjourn is sought so as to save your time.  Please advise of your view.

Which letter or email do you think will be better received by Bob?  Did you notice something?  The first version uses personal pronouns as relative to the writer; being the words, I, me, or my.  The second version only uses personal pronouns relative to the reader; being the words, you or your.  The second version also provides the benefit statement of, "save you time"; and while apparently obvious, even an obvious benefit should be stated.

When a writer writes from the writer's perspective, the writer TELLS.
When the writer writes to the reader's perspective, the writer SELLS.

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