Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
An online devotional for writers
Present the case … that we may consider the evidence. (Isaiah 41:21-22, NLT)
One powerful persuasive writing technique you can use is to raise objections. (Here are some others.)
That is, anticipate why your reader may protest, question, doubt, or embrace skepticism about your point.
Then in your copy or content address those objections head-on and refute the objection with evidence.
That is what Carol Werner and her colleagues at the University of Utah discovered when they tested the power of raising and refuting objections to recycling.
To conduct the study, they placed aluminum can recycling bins at locations across the university campus and labeled them with different signs.
The second message acknowledged an objection: who wants to inconvenienced by taking the used cans to the recycler? Yet the message also refuted the objection by reinforcing the idea that recycling was important.
The outcome? Bins featuring the second message collected double the number of cans over those with the first message.
Carol and her team concluded that that raising objections (“it’s inconvenient”) validates the reader. Refuting those objections (“but it’s important”) persuades the reader to act for the simple reason that it is true – it’s important that each of us takes on the responsibility to recycle.
Presenting an objection and refuting it is persuasive for a simple reason: the evidence points to what is true.
Persuade when you raise an objection and refute it with evidence.
You understand our objections to embracing faith and have presented evidence of your Lordship through creation, the Word, the work of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As I write, reveal objections that my readers have. Show me how to point them to the truth by presenting evidence that refutes those objections.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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