01 Feb To write persuasively, address readers’ WIIFM
Most people fail miserably at persuasive writing because they view the issue only from their own one-sided perspective. If you want to convince readers to purchase your product, embrace your ideas or understand your position, address their WIIFM (What’s in it for me?).
Say you’re an executive or HR director who wants all employees to begin using a new scheduling software program. Since your company promotes champions its collaborative culture, you want to encourage, but not mandate, the adoption of this new system—and draft what you think is an effective email:
XC Schedule-Master, the new scheduling software is now ready for use. We would like everyone to transition from the existing software to XC by March 1. An online training module is now available. If you have any questions, call HR.
Good luck getting anyone to buy in! You haven’t given the staff one good reason to use this new software and may prompt this type of reaction: “A new scheduling software? No way! I’ve got zero time to learn some new convoluted system. I’m still getting used to the current system.”
Let’s try again. First identify what’s in it for the staff: Meetings and webinars can be scheduled faster with XC. Bulls-eye! XC’s platform makes it easier to post comments. Double-bulls-eye! And XC is much easier to learn than the existing software. Bonus bullseye, as you’ve addressed one of the strongest objections, the learning curve. Now put it together in a well-written email:
To help you save time when scheduling meetings and webinars and make it easier to post comments, the new XC Schedule-Master is ready for use. This software is much easier to master than the existing system, so we encourage all of you to transition to XC by March 1—and start improving your productivity. An online training module is now available. Feel free to call HR with questions.
If you want to write persuasively—and write like a leader—remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the reader!