Have you ever wanted to be more persuasive in your writing? If so, this is the first post in a series that is designed to help you achieve just that.
Warning – Tangent Ahead
Lessons from a New Car Salesman
A few months back, in the lead up to our little Xavier’s arrival, we decided we needed to upgrade our two door hatchback for a larger ‘family wagon’. Outside of buying our home the year before this was the largest purchase I’d ever made and so I entered it pretty cautiously and wanting to find the best deal. As a result I did a lot of research and visited a lot of car show rooms.
Over a few weeks I met and interacted with quite a few car sales guys and was fascinated by the different approaches that they used in attempting to convince me which car to buy and that I should buy it off them. Their attempts to persuade me to go with them were wide and varied – some did great jobs while others were in the vicinity of appalling.
Of course as I shopped around I couldn’t help but draw what I was observing back to blogging and think about how there were some similarities (and differences of course). While most bloggers are not in the business of selling cars to their readers – most of us are are in attempting to be persuasive in one way or another.
This goal of persuasion varies a lot in intent from blogger to blogger depending upon their topic – for example:
- political bloggers might attempt to argue cases on that front
- corporate bloggers might attempt to persuade people to give their company a go
- entrepreneurial bloggers might attempt to convince people to buy affiliate products or hire them as consultants
- personal bloggers might attempt to convince readers to see their favorite movie or read a certain book
- religious bloggers might write hoping to convince people to a certain way of living or belief – etc
Sometimes we are very intentional about arguing a case – but sometimes it happens almost subconsciously.
Lessons from a Preacher
I don’t talk a whole lot about my days as a Baptist Minister – but before I was a blogger I’d been working in churches as a youth minister for almost a decade. My weekly rhythm had all kinds of things in it but one of the favorite aspects of what I did was preaching.
I loved working up a sermon in the lead up to giving it. Researching, looking at what others had to say on the topic, piecing together thoughts, looking for illustrations and examples (tangents) and then practicing giving it and making the last minute tweaks and additions in the day before Sunday arrived.
In many ways it was similar to blogging.
No one ever taught me to ‘preach’ as such. I was largely self taught from observing others and having a go myself. The only ‘training’ I really had was a number of sessions with a group who did some teaching on public speaking.
The Five Challenges of Communication
Part of what they taught was what they called the ‘communication wheel’ – a tool that identifies five stages that those people communicated to go through and the corresponding challenges that communicators need to tackle along the way.
I’ve written about this process before (two years ago) but have wanted to retackle it as my previous posts didn’t quite click for me (or my readers by the lack of interaction there was around them).
Over the next five days I’ll tackle the five stages/challenges. While some readers might not feel each of the five challenges are completely relevant for their particular type of blog I hope that in walking through the process we’ll all learn a thing or two about the art of communication and the task of persuading our readers.
I invite your comment and participation over the next five posts.
Read the rest of this Series at: