Persuasive writing. It’s what we do. Whether selling a product or service or an argument to the court or opposing counsel, writers need to choose their words carefully. To make a proper pitch, writers must address the rational and emotional needs of their intended audience.
Laura Connell over at Bad Language has published some words to use and words to avoid in this regard, identified by veteran ad-man David Ogilvy. According to Oglivy, the twenty most persuasive words that you can use in your writing are:
Ogilvy also identifies a few (13) “powerless” words that fail to convey the proper persuasive sentiment, and recommends that they be avoided:
- Need to
- Have to
While working “revolutionary,” “miracle,” and “magic” into your next brief might be a bit of a stretch, consider the tone embodied in these lists – people respond more positively to a positive sentiment, and less positively to an ambivalent or negative sentiment. Rather than cut down the opposite viewpoint, consider emphasizing the positive, and you too might be able to sell like Don Draper.