Tutorial for “Write a Persuasive Letter”

Tips

The purpose of this letter is to motivate the reader to take a specific action. The rationale you give for your letter is what will motivate the reader to act. Give good reasons for taking action and minimize any reasons the reader may have for not taking action.

Steps

1. Get to the point immediately. State the problem or issue and your stance on it.

Sentences

  • As you may know, my secretary, Jane Doe, has recently requested a leave of absence. I support her request.
  • You are an effective voice against the inhumane treatment of animals. As a result, I can count on you to take action against the horrible experiments at the State Research Center.
  • I am aware of the unpopularity of the new budget policy, but I see that it must be implemented.
  • I urge you all to support the zoning proposal next week.
  • As I am sure you will remember, on March 6, 2001, I tripped on one of your makeshift displays, tearing my trousers and cutting my leg. As the store manager, you admitted that the display was in a hazardous location, and agreed that the store would replace my trousers and pay for reasonable medical treatment.

Phrases

  • are already aware of
  • are no doubt aware of
  • as indicated on your FAX
  • for your insightful comments concerning
  • has come to my attention that
  • last year alone we
  • is essential to
  • is what makes our team so
  • it is imperative that
  • may already be aware that
  • may try to convince you to
  • must decide soon how we will
  • please consider the proposal
  • please consider this solution
  • thank you for
  • this recent legislation will
  • to provide the necessary funds for
  • to protect what we value most
  • need to find a solution to
  • have discovered that
  • would you be willing to
  • your support could help us to

2. Give evidence supporting your stance. If necessary and appropriate, give evidence against the opposing view.

Sentences

  • Since I hired her three years ago, Jane's work has been excellent. I believe her outstanding performance justifies her request. She worked overtime to complete last year's fiscal report, thereby sacrificing a vacation. She has also completed tasks far more difficult than her job description requires. Jane is invaluable to me and my department. Since her absence would affect only my area, and she would be gone for only three months, I would plan to hire temporary help while she is away. I don't want to lose her services.
  • A reliable source has informed me that scientists are maiming unanesthetized dogs in behavior modification experiments. Furthermore, the head supervisor of the study, Dr. John Doe, is using thousands of dollars from the federal government to fund his experiments.
  • As much as we all dislike the policy, it is our only hope if we are to stay afloat financially in the upcoming year. We must fill several positions, and we can do it only by drastically cutting the current budget.
  • Several major cities across the country have tried this zoning concept. In every case it has boosted the economy, creating more tax revenues and more jobs.
  • We encourage you to take the time to write to your representatives today. Let them know that you oppose this proposed ruling. We have enclosed a sheet explaining what the ruling was originally intended to do and what it will actually do.
  • On April 3, 2001, I sent you a single bill for $56.50 to cover the cost of new trousers. You will be pleased to know that I have not incurred any doctor bills. As of today, May 3, your check for the trousers has not arrived. The Better Business Bureau has agreed to step in, but asked me to write to you one more time before taking other measures to recover my losses.

Phrases

  • according to the outline
  • are obligated to
  • cannot overestimate the importance of
  • don't want to risk
  • has been interpreted to mean
  • has met on several occasions
  • in light of what has happened
  • in order to complete the
  • it is extremely important that
  • it was mentioned that
  • may provide the necessary link to
  • means a great deal to
  • never gave any indication that
  • productivity reports show that
  • so far as we know
  • the firm has provided
  • the recent assault on
  • these actions must be
  • to maintain our image as
  • we agreed that
  • when we began this project
  • when this policy went into effect

3. Elaborate on why you feel as you do. State (or restate) what action you want the reader to take.

Sentences

  • Jane's request is, admittedly, unusual. But she is a remarkable employee, and because of her outstanding performance, her request deserves special consideration. I hope you will agree and grant it.
  • It is a disgrace that such unfeeling scientists are using the taxes we pay to torture helpless animals. I trust you will use your position and influence to put a stop this terrible practice.
  • We need everyone's cooperation if the policy is to work. If we all pitch in, our long-term goals will have a chance of becoming realities. Things will be a little difficult for the time being, but our efforts will surely pay off in the end.
  • Don't allow your individual rights to be restricted. Communicate with your congressional representatives today and let them know how you feel.
  • Please send a check for the above amount immediately. I trust that you are as eager as I am to settle this claim. You were very helpful and polite the day of the accident, and I assume that you are willing to honor your agreement. If I receive a check within the next two weeks, I will take no further action.

Phrases

  • am totally opposed to
  • am strongly in favor of
  • am devoted to
  • ask you to support my
  • find great value in
  • for the benefit of those who
  • have the freedom to
  • highly recommend that we
  • if you are willing to
  • invite you to
  • persons of this caliber
  • please reconsider your
  • requests are not at all unreasonable
  • should a conflict arise
  • thank you for
  • to look into the problem
  • to commit to seeing this through
  • to discuss possible solutions
  • upon the successful completion of
  • urge you to
  • will take the following actions
  • will provide us with
  • your stand on this issue

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