Don’t kill your enemy

Have you entangled in an awkward moment when someone asks you a simple question that requires you to give an answer that can fill up a nine-volume book? It happened to me years ago. It happened when I was a ripe tomato out of college and got hired in a reputable American company. My colleagues as a gesture of professionalism towards new hires stopped by my cubical and introduced themselves.

A foreign colleague, perhaps out of curiosity, came to my cube and said, “hi”. After a short introduction he asked me where I was from. Being profoundly influenced by Khatami at the time, I proudly tried to lay down my share of foundation of Dialogue Among Civilizations in front of him and said, “I am an Iranian”. As I was drunkard of my accomplishment and drowned in the joy of sailing in the clouds, hand in hand with Khatami, he replied, “Oh yeah? I’ve heard you people never work together”. That was the moment that I felt like a falling melon from an Iranian Cessna slipped out of the hand of pilot when he was trying to reach his passengers on the wings. From that point on, I have become culturally self-conscious and aside from the addictive joy of entertainment I receive, I often try to observe Iranians from that perspective.

It is no secret among Iranians that there are a mountainous amount of useless discussions going around our community. The sum of hot air that we produce daily can easily exceed the average human carbon footprint, making Iranians a serious competitor to our favorite four-legged beef trees. Please consider this while I believe ninety nine percent of these discussions are innocent, entertaining, until nobody is rolling in his/her own blood, and are simply influenced by our culture.

However, I am writing this for predominantly young and educated professionals who have good hearts and minds but not aware of the right tools. These writers time and again come up with a nice idea and write about it. However because of the lack of right techniques they not only cannot persuade their audience but also cause more in-fighting and turmoil. At the end, they are left with a completely sidetracked idea, depicted counter-productive character of his/her own, a large number of old fans who have just become his/her new enemies and creating a cause for demoting professionalism. Although these young writers who are the guards of the sacred palace of ideas are supposed to be our future leaders, they seem not to have the slightest clue what the leadership is.

After many years of readership on and producing a few featured articles as a young and inexperienced writer who highly reluctant to revisit his own writings, along several years of technical and leisure writings with a good back bone of academic trainings, I came to realize many of our problems is simply because of the lack of professionalism especially in expressing our ideas.

While Hollywood is blamed for many of western anti cultural events, it is one of the main sources of an extremely important cultural phenomenon called professionalism. From the early twentieth century that they persuaded the worshipers of the silver screens across the globe, to cheer on red necks for mutilating savagely the red skins till this age that they are depicting even some of the most savage native American tribes as the innocent victims of their own sacred rituals, it has promoted professionalism. Hollywood has thought us, to study our customers, formulate a logical approach to reach them and persuade them to buy our products.

Similarly, a writer is a professional producer of ideas who knows well his/her customers. They are his/her audiences. S/he uses some tools to persuade the audience to buy the idea. As there are many types of tools to be utilized in producing a product, there are different writing styles. From the major writing styles such as Persuasive, Rhetorical, Exploratory, Informative, Analytical, and Investigative types of writing my favorite is the persuasive writing. It has a simple formula, and it is tremendously practical to extend that we not only can use it to influence our PhD supervisors to approve our thesis but it enables us to write a complaint to the utility company to successfully reestablish our rights. Either reinstating our rights or reinstalling our lights there are great benefit in learning about this very inexpensive but powerful tool.

The first step towards writing an influential paper is to map your idea. To write this article I mapped my plan as I was brainstorming and weighing on how to attack the problem. I grouped them in 6 major sections. While you are plotting down your thoughts, consider that vocabulary and editing is not of any importance at this stage mainly because when you are wasting your time thinking about the fancy words, your schematics of invaluable ideas are flying away. Please have in mind that you are writing to transfer your idea not winning an essay contest.

The first section of any style of writing is introduction. It is the most tender and intimate time a writer can take advantage to unite with his/her reader. Introduction by far is the most marketable part of your paper. It must grab the reader’s attention. To do so, there is one simple fact, be human. So, talk for example about your own experiences and your observations. Find something that most of your readers can relate to. The possibilities of creating a good attention grabber are as many as the number of writers and occasions. So don’t be shy and think wild!

As you made sure you have the reader’s attention go towards introducing the major part of your paper without being too rigid. The art of writing now comes to play to avoid creating artificial partitions. However make sure you are not going off topic. The essential duty of the persuasive writer is to always maintain a connection with the sole idea behind the paper at all times.

The introduction section of your writing house(s) to the most single important sentence(s) of your paper. It is called the thesis sentence(s). It is usually one and sometimes comprises of two sentences. It is the trickiest part of the paper since you have to condense all your thoughts in a single verdict. You can also artistically combine this sentence with your attention grabber. In this case the jackpot will be a provocative, controversial and revolutionary paper.

Now comes the body of paper. This is the longest part of your article. To better prepare for this piece, imagine you are a lawyer and presenting your idea in front of a judge and a jury. Note that, all of them are watching every single movement of yours. In persuasive writing, this is the part that you present your evidences and your logical perspective as how you have reached that particular conclusion in each paragraph. Remember, to have short paragraphs that each starts with a topic sentence.

The topic sentence acts like a thesis sentence for that precise paragraph. Bear in mind, while you are mumbling about that topic, you must stick to that particular evidence. To understand this better, have in mind that you are assigned just a few lines to roll out your substantiation and plead your case to the jury to side with you. There is no freaking time to go blah off topic!

Since you have done your homework and been secretly studying your jurors in advance, you know what they might ask you. So, be prepared to answer those questions also, as part of your reasoning in each paragraph, because you are given only one time to present your case. Use short sentences! Having long ones, which cause reader’s confusion, is not an art. Use proper punctuations and if you are not sure to use comma or not just use it. A couple extra of commas here and there won’t hurt.

It is inevitable for this type of writing to avoid giving references. Do you remember? It’s a persuasive paper and you must have evidences. Often they come in all shapes and forms from photos, drawings, and famous quotes to books, Internet sites and god knows what your little brain can come up with. But study them well and make sure there are from a reputable source. Make sure you cite the references properly and give credit when it’s due. It is part of being professional. Otherwise people won’t take you seriously.

One important pit fall for the Iranian writers is getting too emotional. Emotions are effective but tricky tools for persuasive writing because they might unwillingly stir some unwanted emotions that are all over the map and hard to manage. They also might cause a very different set of emotions that you were not intending to raise. But have down your pat, there is one single communication channel that we all universally share. It is a single language that all normal one of us understand and that’s logic. So use common sense and keep the emotions at bay as much as you can

Now comes the last part that is supposed to leave a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. Conclusion is as important as your introduction. Imagine you have been biting the jurors’ brain for hours and now come the time to bring back everything that you have thrown in the air in your juggling show. Present the spectators with the slide show of your topic sentences. Tell your reader how you started and what you talked about along the way. Then portray your thesis sentence at the end with different color and taste but with the same nutritional dose.

So far, I talked about how Iranians suffer from a chronic disease called how to poop a party. Then I went on told you most of it, is innocent and mainly harmless. Since Hollywood has taught us how to be a professional, let’s take lessons and have fun brain washing people. Believe me, it is as enjoyable as water-boarding. Although at first it might seem too much work that you have to map your idea and make structures, but it’ll make your paper later easy to compose.

In summary, Persuasive writing is a powerful tool. In order to connect with your audience you need an introduction with a winking thesis sentence that leads to paragraphs upon paragraphs of flashing topic sentences. The conclusion section put your thesis sentence at the center of attention that a trailing chain of topic sentences takes it to a happy ending. Be tasteful and avoid rigidity with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Good luck!

Writing Guidelines: (n.d.) In Purdue Writing Lab.

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