Do you want your words to inform or persuade?

Mar 21, 2013

Journalists pack information into headlines and the first few sentences of an article.

Fireman injured in fall from tree during rescue attempt. Kitten unharmed.

This informative writing uses a method called the inverted triangle. The important news comes first, and the longer you read or listen, the less significant the information. Writing that is structured to inform is used effectively in newspapers, TV news, and company newsletters where space is at a premium.

The inverted triangle method of writing gives people information very quickly, but it doesn’t encourage continued reading or listening. In five seconds you can absorb the information—an important tool in the correct context.

Writing to persuade is the opposite—you build interest toward a climax. The point of the triangle is sharp; it pricks at you, and calls for you to pay attention to what comes next.

Nothing screams “Run away!” like the words, “Got a minute?” But if the princess had run away from the frog, she never would have met prince charming. If you need a transformation, the next few minutes can be life changing.

It’s important to know which style is appropriate for the situation. The following text message would not only be too long, its effectiveness could be questioned.

Sweetheart, I want you to know I love you and care deeply about your safety. For that reason, I hope you aren’t too distracted by reading this text while you’re driving. But it is also for that reason that I am texting. If you are taking your usual side road to enjoy the scenery—which is one of the things I love about you—you should be coming up to the old bridge right about now. Please turn around and take the long way home! The bridge is out.

But if you are giving a speech, writing a letter to the editor, composing an ad, or trying to convince board members to follow your lead, these words would tease their interest, pull them in, entertain them, take them on a roller coaster ride—so when the ride is over, they want another go.

Words—the Write Place knows where and how to use them. Let us help you give your audience the ride of their life. Call 641-628-8398 to learn more.


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