The purpose: To create a persuasive letter, in business letter format, which persuades me why OR why not I should spend a third day at Disneyworld visiting Epcot.
Analyze Your Audience Before You Start: Iâm your audience. Each session, I give students a real life decision I’m working through, and as my “employees,” I ask you to research a decision I’m just too busy to do myself (not really–but I want to emulate the real-world here!).
Wordcount limit: your boss would never tell you to have a word count; this is a school construct. Instead, keep in mind the following: be thorough in your persuasive arguments, but be concise. Self-editing is your friend.
_ Is the format of this letter accurate? _ Did you address your reader appropriately?
_ Is the purpose of the letter readily apparent? _ Does the letter think of your reader’s (Susan’s) needs (i.e., you havenât written this letter in a bubble as you discuss your thoughts from a general audience perspective)?
_ Are there proportionate pros and cons for each side? _ Is there enough research for each side you bring up? (The research in this case will be found on the Internet.)
_ Is the research hyperlinked appropriately, using the part that is the main idea from your research as the hyperlink, like so: The Epcot theme park is considered by some to be one of the more attractive parks to go to as an adult. _ Is the detail specific and informative (âEpcot averages 32,000 visitors per dayâ) vs. general (âEpcot is a busy parkâ)?
_ Does the letter answer questions or overcome objections the reader may have? (Put yourself in the readerâs shoes (mine!). What would you want to know that hasnât been answered? What issues would you have with this decisionâhypotheticallyâthat you think I would have, too?) _ Is there a list (or two) that may have a visual impact for the reader, making your points more persuasive?
_ Is that list parallel in structure and absolutely grammar-error-free? _ Is only factual language used?
_ Is all fluffy language (e.g., Epcot is fun) cut and only informative language used (e.g., Epcot offers nine rides)? _ Does the letter exclude anything that sounds dictatorial, condescending, or arrogant?
_ Is there an action close that includes: â¢ Telling me what I should pick â¢ Making the action sound easy â¢ Offering a reason for acting promptly â¢ Ending with a positive picture â¢ Not sounding like a used car salesmanâor youâve lost your way. ;o) _ Is there a well-worded deadline/call to action in this letter to show the reader that this is not a passive âone day Iâll bet to itâ letter.
Lastly, does the entire letter look visually pleasant, with enough whitespace and in a format that a skimmer/scanner would be able to read quickly? And very lastly, is the letter properly formatted and looks professional? (Tip: Unprofessional looking letters that have formatting issues will be ridiculed by the reader and not taken seriously.)
And in the end:
_ Did you proofread with yourself in your readerâs shoes? (Hint: What does an ENG 212 teacher want to hear?) _ Will this letter get read sooner rather than later? (Hint: This depends on if the purpose is easily seen and if the letter looks easy to read.)
__ Will this letter ultimately get your desired outcome (that is, the reader will choose your option)? If this gets a no from me, this means that you didnât write an effective letter. So try your hardest to get me, via research and professionalism, to say yes!!
*I have a strong opinion about this. So persuade me!
When you complete your letter, send it to me as an attachment and make sure you put inside the email itself the 10 tips you used from the book that discuss:
1) Business letter format
2) Details that are specific and informative
3) Creating lists for visual impact
4) Parallel structure
5) Action closes
6) Calls to action
7) Using you-attitude in a message
8) Overcoming the reader’s objections
9) Research in business writing
10) Addressing your reader appropriately
NOTE: Write out what in your letter you said that relates to this idea, and then discuss in quotes what the book said about this idea.
10) Addressing your reader appropriately
I started the letter with Dear Mr. Wazzel. In our book, it states, “Always address you reader with their preferred name if you know what that is. Doing so starts the letter off on the right foot.”
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