Writing a persuasive document Erin Blasco firstname.lastname@example.org
Advanced organizer• Structuring our persuasive document and identifying key phrases• Best practices• Questions
Persuading Secretary Clough to… • We have to write a persuasive document to convince Secretary Clough to OK our project. • We’ll structure the document and identify key phrases.
What project should we convince Secretary Clough to approve? • Monthly celebrity chef program at SAAM to create art-inspired desserts for visitors and staff to increase multi-sensory engagement with art and knowledge about use of color and texture in art • Tech library from which staff can freely borrow iPads, video cameras, and other tools for work projects to increase skill levels and creative use of technology • Traveling exhibition of 50 objects that tell the story of America as voted for by the American public to increase nationwide understand of
Persuading Dr. Clough: Know your audience!• What do we know about Dr. Clough? – Focused on the Grand Challenges – Pro-technology, but not jargon – Wants SI to be a 21st century institution – Civil engineer – Wants to improve SI infrastructure – Loves creative solutions, innovation, collaboration across units, and low costs – Georgia boy
Connect your audience with yourproject: What might Dr. Clough relate to? +
Identify things Dr. Clough may not like • We won’t change these things about the project, but we will anticipate and address his possible concerns.
Don’t look at a blank Word document• Make yourself a form to complete. What does Dr. Clough need to know to be persuaded to OK the project?• What topics should we be sure to address? – Who is it for? Why is this audience important? – What needs will it address? – How will it improve that unit and SI in general? – How will it impress outside stakeholders? – What will it cost? – How does it relate to his agenda, grand challenges, brand, etc? – How will you address his key concerns?• Identify key sub-topics to address and then fill these in. Bold topic headings aid reading and send clear messages.
How does the project connect with Dr. Clough’s agenda? Grand Challenges• Identify key phrases, Pro-technology, not jargon 21st century institution sentences, or points Civil engineer, Infrastructure Creative solutions, Low cost Georgia boy you want to make in each sub-topic.• These can be messy and disorganized. Beautify later.
Complete your form, adding key phrases, quotes, and data• Who is it for? Why is this audience important? – Important stakeholders, underserved communities• What needs will it address? – Valuable tech training, transferrable skills – 40% of staff said they ―lack necessary training‖ to complete technology projects• How will it improve that unit and SI in general? – Inspire creativity and provide to tools to put it into action. ―This will revolutionize our ability to make
Repetition• Make your point different ways. Directly, through an example, a story, a quote, a graph.• Repeat the point at the beginning and the end. What speech is this? Fun trick: paste your text into Wordle.com to see if you’re repeating your key words and themes enough.
Reasons why• Duh!• Reasons why Dr. Clough should OK your project from your perspective, your boss’s perspective, and his perspective. The It will address It will project the will be impress museum’s fun. needs. funders.
Consistency• Start with something Dr. Clough already agrees with—something difficult to refute, perhaps his own idea.• Then make your case. SI needs Can’tto digitize digitize Solution our without : techcollections tech . training. library!
Social proof • We naturally look to others to know what to do. Take advantage of that. • Are other museums doing similar projects? • Has the audience asked for a project like this?9 out of 10 proposal readers agree: testimonials are great
Comparisons• Metaphors are your friends.• Reframe: It’s not a bailout, it’s a safety net.• Be visual: you can envision a net, but what does a bailout look like?• For example: – We are a microscope: We dig deep into issues. – We are a telescope: We step back and consider the big picture. – We are a kaleidoscope: We see the world through many lenses
Agitate & Solve• Does it solve a need?• Yes, but how needy is the need?• Prove, don’t tell.
Predict the future• What will happen if the project doesn’t happen?• What local, regional, and national trends have you observed that make this project necessary now?
Address objections • If you don’t know your audience very well, ask somebody who does to review your proposal. • Don’t say, ―I know you object to…‖ You may accidentally paraphrase concerns in a way he won’t appreciate.
Tell a story• Character: Once upon a time, there was a museum visitor…• Conflict: Who thought art was really boring…• Speech: ―If only there was a way to get the whole family interested in art…‖
What if your persuasive writing doesn’t work?• Other non-text modes of communicating• Find an advocate or partner• Scale down: can my proposal move forward on a pilot/experimental/smaller basis?• Bribery.