Why Persuasive Writing is the Ultimate Form of Communication


Katie Yeakle

I hope you’re enjoying this week’s issues of The Writer’s Life, edited by yours truly, Katie Yeakle.

Today, I’d like to do something a bit out of the ordinary …

I’d like to share with you part of a memo I sent to the AWAI team a few years back. I had just re-read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and was inspired by the power, honesty, and simplicity of his message.

The reason I’d like you to read it is because it speaks to how all of us here at AWAI feel about you and what you can accomplish.

Plus, there are some great lessons here for all persuasive writers!

TO: AWAI TEAM
FROM: Katie
RE: Lessons from How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale reinforces the importance of what he’s teaching and the impact it can have on your life … all the while pointing out that your success is ultimately up to you. An example:

“If you want to get real, lasting benefit out of this book, don’t imagine that skimming through it once will suffice. After reading it thoroughly, you ought to spend a few hours reviewing it every month. Keep it on your desk in front of you every day. Glance at it often. Keep constantly impressing yourself with the rich possibilities for improvement that still lie in the offing.”

He’s clear about the fact that there’s work involved … but the work is worthwhile … and the results are worth it. Two examples:

“Remember that the use of these principles can be made habitual only by a constant and vigorous campaign of review and application. There is no other way.”

“Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. So, if you desire to master the principles you are studying in this book, do something about them. Apply these rules at every opportunity. If you don’t, you will forget them quickly. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.”

“You are attempting to form new habits. Ah yes, you are attempting a new way of life. That will require time and persistence and daily application.”

In an added chapter at the end, Lowell Thomas says: “Dale Carnegie would tell you that he made a living all these years, not by teaching public speaking – that was incidental. His main job was to help people conquer their fears and develop courage.”

That’s our main job too. Plus, I would add … introducing people to opportunities to live richer lives.

A few of Dale’s ideas that we can incorporate in our programs and our dealings with our members and each other:

  1. “There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything … And that is by making the other person want to do it.”
  2. “ … the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to be important’ … ‘the craving to be appreciated.’”
  3. “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Charles Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”
  4. “Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips.”
  5. “ … the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
  6. Quoting Henry Ford: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
  7. Quoting a performer: “I am grateful because these people come to see me. They make it possible for me to make my living in a very agreeable way. I’m going to give them the very best I possibly can.”
  8. “If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.”
  9. Chinese proverb: “A man without a smiling face must not open shop.”
  10. “Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Especially when that someone is under pressure from his bosses, his customers, his teachers, parents or children, a smile can help him realize that all is not hopeless … that there is joy in the world.”
  11. It’s all about listening to the other person.
  12. “The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.”
  13. Advice Dale received after correcting someone publicly at a dinner party: “Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it. Why argue with him? Always avoid the acute angle.”
  14. “Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.”
  15. “Suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And – a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.”
  16. “In talking with other people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep on emphasizing – the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.”
  17. Appeal to nobler motives.
  18. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.
  19. Quoting Charles Schwab: people get things done because they want to excel. “The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to people of spirit.”
  20. “That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win.”
  21. “Be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it – and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.”

There are many more gems in this little book.

For now, let’s think about how we can apply the above to improve our members’ experiences with AWAI.

Next time you sit down to write anything … a sales letter, a business memo, a note to a friend … I hope you’ll keep Dale’s advice in mind. It’s the core of persuasive writing, which is the surest path to the writer’s life.

If you’d like to comment on this issue or ask me any questions, please add it to the comment section below.

Tune in tomorrow. I’m going to give you my four tips for living a life of freedom and independence as a well-paid, in-demand writer.

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Published: January 7, 2016

22 Responses to “Why Persuasive Writing is the Ultimate Form of Communication”

  1. Hi Katie,

    I read Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People a few months before I enrolled in the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I'm almost finished with the program now. I agree with you that many of the persuasive principles Dale Carnegie writes about in his book apply to the copywriting principles taught in the AWAI's copywriting program.

    SheilaJanuary 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

  2. Hello Katie, I agree with you:it is a wonderful book.
    In New Year of 2016, I make a plan to follow Dale Carnegie's advice to conquer my fear, to develop my courage .
    I am persuasive to review his book on a regular basis.
    I will write every day.
    I will keep adding content to my new website

    I will get a client by the end of march,2016 thank you and happy new year Katie jennie

    jennieJanuary 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

  3. Katie, Thank you for these vital reminders. I recently was involved in a nasty email exchange with my brother and realize I would have been well served to remember these points. They apply to our personal communications as well as our professional messages!

    Guest (CL)January 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

  4. Thanks Katie, I've read the book several times. It was life changing. It has been years, but I recognized every sentence. It's always a great reminder. And as I read your selections, I realized why my life has been so blessed to date by following his sage advice.
    Thanks for all you do. You're making a positive difference in this world!
    Doc

    Guest (Doc Boatright)January 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm

  5. These are extremely wise words. I can think of so many ways they can apply in my personal & professional lives. Check out the website "The Muse". Their email is full of great advice. Today's is about 7 words which persuade. "Power words are the secret weapon of persuasion. Here are seven of them—study them, use them, practice them, and watch what happens." You, Imagine, Act, Because, Now, Believe & Guaranteed.

    Annette ReffaltJanuary 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

  6. Thank you for the comments taken from Dale Carnegie and Charles Schwab. I agree they are relevant and important. That is why I participate in this discussion. You see, I have a firm goal of publishing a book. But, I am somewhat taken back by the efforts of others to achieve it. Why am I languishing in limbo waiting for updating periodic status from the publishing folks? Joseph

    Guest (GRACE)January 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm

  7. Hi Katie, I still have a copy of this book and need to read it again. As I was reading your article I was reminded of how my former boss (at my last job) made a point of criticizing me in front of the rest of the staff during a meeting of the entire team. I admit that some of his comments were true but it was very inappropriate of him to discuss his opinions of me in this venue. As a result, he lost trust of the rest of the staff because they knew the same could happen to them.

    Nora KingJanuary 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

  8. Katie that post is more valuable than most people will ever realize. It's the springboard to anything we desire in life.

    I first read that book in 1986 while in the US Navy and it changed my life.

    I'm so glad I found out about AWAI. Your organization is my first trust in the Law of Association. Great minds here.

    Guest (Martin Hamilton)January 7, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  9. It's ironic that this is the second article I've read today mentioning "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

    I've read the book three or four times. I'm a graduate of the Dale Carnegie course as well as the sales course. His wisdom is so helpful.

    I think it's time to dust off the book and read it again. Thank you.

    Guest (John Lee)January 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm

  10. Thank you, Katie. I quite enjoyed this post. It is very important to go back and review old material, almost like a crime scene, to find something you missed. There is always that piece of "A-HA" information, adding a leg to the table of belief.

    I keep all my AWAI emails in their own copy folder, by author ( Learn from the best!). I feel I will be coming back to this lesson over and over again in the future.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    Paul J Vigeant JrJanuary 7, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  11. I think I'm going to print that out and hang it in my office! Thanks so much for the great reminders- others first, enthusiasm, encouragement. This is what's important!

    DorotheaJanuary 7, 2016 at 7:24 pm

  12. If everyone followed this advice, debates would be a lot more civil!

    "Suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And – a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."

    "In talking with other people, don't begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep on emphasizing – the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose."

    Appeal to nobler motives.

    TrueBlaveJanuary 7, 2016 at 11:00 pm

  13. I give a weekly teleseminar and wish to combine stimulating writing with stimulating listeners to begin to live their lives from an internal source from within that is the initiator and believer that only they know which path is the best way for their lives to go and what they love can become their source of creation to support this life...the 2 require persuasive words.

    Guest (Lila Bennett)January 7, 2016 at 11:46 pm

  14. On "How to Win Friends and Influence People," consider true love. It's when neither party knows who's luckier.

    Guest (Chris Morris)January 8, 2016 at 11:37 am

  15. Great advise katie,Im glad you re-posted this it's been very helpful. I love reading all your articles it's like having a personal coach. God bless you!

    Guest (bob ring)January 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

  16. Powerful words and tools for everyday communication as well. I have honed many of my communication skills, but in my personal life my attention to detail has proven over critical with my husband and son. I resonated with and could apply several of these points on areas I want to refine. I'm certain this will be a valuable book to read and I'm going to library to check it out! Thank you!!

    Guest (Esperanza Smith)January 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

  17. Hi Katie, You have a lot of experience and insight with people and I commend you on that writing. One of the courses I took at Midland College was Philosophy and a part of it was Reasoning. Dr. Franks gave me an "A" because he said I flourished in those courses. The reason was I talked a a lot! There were no right or wrong answers and I made a lot of friends because I always tried to see others point of view with my heart and mind. The study of 121 religions brought people from around the world.

    Wanda Simpson MillerJanuary 9, 2016 at 3:28 am

  18. Thank you, a great reminder or reminders. :)

    bballJanuary 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm

  19. Great article, Katie. I used the same principles in the book I wrote titled, "WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad" c 2014 Skyhorse Publishing. Many college grads believe that sending resumes to every job board on the internet is the way to find a job. Wrong! What they must do is leave the house to meet and make friends with hiring managers they will find at conventions like BEA. It's all about building relationships....personal, not virtual.

    Guest (John Henry Weiss)January 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

  20. Thanks, he mentioned many good points

    Guest (Marianne)January 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

  21. Hi Katie, What a wonderful refresher of the gems in Dale Carnegie's book,How to Win Friends and Influence People!
    I re-read it about a year ago and loved it, again.
    This was a sweet,encouraging reminder of its value,especially as I grow as a copywriter in writing persuasively.
    Thank you

    Guest (Rita Jeane)January 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

  22. A Parent's Ardent Wish for Enduring Peace ---

    It normally takes nine months to bear an innocent life; It takes patience ... grueling hours to nurse a baby to sleep; It takes love and sacrifice to see a baby grows into a toddler; It takes years not that many before a child finally goes to school; On the other hand, it takes only a hand to hold a gun; It takes only a finger to squeeze the trigger; Sadly, it takes only a split-second to snuff the life out of a child -- A child who, a parent nurtured to live in a world where peace remains fragile, elusive and unsecured.

    MerlethemanJanuary 26, 2016 at 6:46 pm


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