Here’s the Persuasive Writing Secret You Need to Know

2nd September, 2020

Here’s the Persuasive Writing Secret You Need to Know

This is one of my favourite ads – for, unusually, spark plugs. It popped up on my feed recently (thanks to @bravenewmalden Kevin Mills for sharing on Twitter).

An oldie but oh-so-goodie.

Now it could have said:

‘Ours are made to start first time. Unlike our competitors’.’

But isn’t this so much more persuasive?

And that’s because it shows not tells.

It makes you feel something. It paints a picture. It appeals to the senses.

This is a technique that both creative writers and copywriters have used for years.

And it’s one you can use whenever you want your writing to be more persuasive and influential.

For example:

1. The Snoresome To Awesome CV:
Before (tell): ‘I’m a results-driven, ambitious sales professional with a strategic mindset’
After (show): ‘My last CEO described me as ‘sales rocket fuel’ after I won the company’s largest client to date, worth £1.5m in revenues’

2. The Painful To Powerful Proposal:
Before (tell): ‘We are the leading provider of trade management solutions in Europe’
After (show): ‘8 out of 10 investment managers in Europe use at least one of our systems’

3. The ‘Say what?’ to ‘I get it!’ Descriptor
Before (tell): ‘I teach leaders how to step into their best selves’
After (show): ‘After my six-month programme, one CEO cut up all his ties, shed 10 pounds and reported a 15% increase in employee engagement.’

Got the idea? Now it’s over to you.

Go spruce up your bio/LinkedIn profile/company page/presentation/report and send me your before and after makeovers. I LOVE a good reveal!

University of Cambridge