I wrote a blog a while back on how to effectively write research papers. While I definitely enjoyed that blog, I admit I jumped at the chance to write about persuasive arguments, because they happen to be my favorite type of essay. Research papers are good, safe assignments to have, because all of your facts are right there, and you are simply spelling them out for your audience. A persuasive argument, on the other hand requires a lot more “you” in your paper.
There is a risk you are taking whenever you enter into this territory. You are essentially being tasked with changing someone’s mind. Anyone who has ever entered into an argument (in real life, or especially online) knows that this is no easy task. The advantage of writing persuasive papers is that you have the entirety of an essay to make your point, back it up, and present a strong argument without interruption. You get to be opinionated, even cop a little attitude, and that’s always fun. I’ve assembled a list of a few tips to help you craft a good persuasive argument, but for starters, go ahead and get riled up about something. That’s always the best place to begin.
Make a Strong Introduction and State Your Case
Remember that you are coming at this from the angle of trying to convince someone else that your ideas are correct. A strong introduction, and a clearly stated stance are critical to a successful argument. You want to be clear and unequivocal while avoiding being forceful or standoffish.
You want to omit terms like “I think…”, or “I guess…”, because these do not sound certain. Inform your readers of the issue at hand matter-of-factly, and begin to convince them that your way of seeing it is the best way, and the right way. Establish a moral or ethical high ground. Coming at your argument from the stance of “My way is right,” is impactful, without being insulting to your audience.
Present your Opposition, and Refute It
In order to understand the importance of your persuasive argument, your audience also needs to be in on the opposition’s feelings on the matter. This may seem counter intuitive, but it is actually very important to give the opposing view a little air time in your presentation. You don’t want to be snide, or belittling, but do take every opportunity to discuss the flaws and drawbacks of your adversaries.
Believe it or not, it is also okay, even advisable to point out the aspects of the opposite viewpoint that you agree with, or at least concede to. Often, you may find that there is an aspect to the counter argument that you find to be right in line with your own thinking, and you should expand on that. Still, go on to talk about why your ideas are better overall. Perhaps there are loopholes in the opposing argument which your stance addresses. Perhaps the opposition’s processes would lead to problems. Spell it all out, just make sure that your views come out on top in the end.
Reconfirm and Elaborate on Your Issue
Now that we have heard about your stance, and the opposing stance, tell us why this is so important to you. It is okay to get a little personal and editorial in persuasive arguments. Putting a reason behind your thinking can help guide your audience through the same thoughts and emotions that led you to your own conclusion. As you list out facts, back them up with personal anecdotes or observations when appropriate. Remember, you are trying to make your audience feel the same way you do, so don’t forget to being feelings into it.
Also take some time to discuss the hot button issues surrounding your argument. Often, there is a bit of controversy involving these types of issues, and you should talk about them openly. People might have already been persuaded one way or the other after following these issues in the news, or by hearing about them through friends. Your argument is a chance for them to experience it in another way. Present hard evidence along with your personal asides, but do play on emotions a bit. Many readers respond well when they feel personally included in your argument, so take advantage of the chance to get through to them.
This is also an excellent time to cite expert opinions and include quotes. Are there well known and respected public figures who feel the same way you do? Bring them into your argument and use their knowledge and credibility to further position your viewpoint as being the right one. Sound bytes from authority figures can go a long way in persuading your audience.
State Your Final Conclusion
You have brought your audience with you thus far. You have presented your argument, spoken about why it is important to you, deconstructed your opposition, and given your readers reasons to agree. Now is the time where you make a strong closing argument. Recall the facts you presented earlier, and reassert their importance. Remind readers of the impact this issue can have on their own lives, and why they should carefully consider your viewpoint. Back up your thesis with a final conclusion that ties it all together. You want your audience to agree with you, but you also want them to feel like they have arrived at this conclusion on their own. You did not “make” them feel this way, instead you gave them every reason why they “should” feel this way. Because it is right, it is morally superior, and because the opposition is wrong.
Above all, try to have fun with your persuasive argument. You chose this topic for a reason, and now is your chance to show everyone why. Put a lot of yourself into your argument, and show that you are 100% behind it.
Udemy.com has lots of great courses to help you with writing skills as well as debate skills. Check out these links for more info: