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Writing Persuasive Messages and Proposals


Business Communication ch. 10 (part), “Writing Persuasive Messages and Proposals,” pp. 295-367.

Note: many pages are examples of messages; focus on the framing chapter content.

Journal #11: “Everything you write on the job will have some kind of persuasive purpose—to convince the reader of your professionalism, convey an appealing company image, [and] promote good relations …. But in some situations persuasion will be your central goal.” What are the analytical, strategic, and writing skills you will need to develop?

Note: Substantive journals will consist of two full pages in standard manuscript format (see syllabus). If you have done the reading and considered the prompts below, you should have plenty to say.

  1. Audience: Ordinarily when doing a research report or creating some other kind of message, you create a bibliography of the sources you consult; but you are not asked to create a bibliography of sources when you researching your audience. Why is it just as important to know the audience for your report or message (a client, a business, a field, a potential employer, etc.?) What sources or media would you consult to research your audience? What information is important to know about your audience (geographic location, market, products, type of business, issues facing such businesses, etc.)? Do you think creating a bibliography as you research your audience would be a good idea?
  2. 296: What is an“overtly persuasive message,” and how is it different from “content marketing”? What is the difference between a direct and indirect order, and when might you use them in your future career?
  3. Summarize the “general advice about persuasion” on pp. 296-299. Which aspects come most easily and natural to you, and which are more difficult? Recall a situation in which you tried to persuade someone to do something they really weren’t inclined to do through a message. Were you just lucky, and unknowingly follow some part of this advice? Or might you have been more successful if you had followed any of these tips?
  4. What does the text say about making a persuasive request (pp. 299-303)? Formulate your own request for something you want for the Holidays, first using a “selfish, blunt approach” and then a more “skillful persuasion using the indirect order” (it can be for a magnanimous charity or a plea for a gift from your parents).
  5. What are the different types of proposals described on pp. 336-340, and which are you most likely to make and/or receive in your career? Have you ever made a proposal on behalf of a group or business? What form (pp. 340-350) did it take, or should it have taken? Thinking back on the myriad pitches, pleas, and advertisements you have received in the past year from marketers and acquaintances, which of the “seven deadly sins of proposal writing” (p. 343) seem the most common?


Last Updated on July 24, 2019

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