In a Nutshell: The best writers don’t try to “win” arguments — they persuade their audiences with emotional storytelling that avoids biases and builds common ground.
Guest: Trish Hall, a long-time journalist who spent six years at The Wall Street Journal and more than 20 years at The New York Times, where she edited the op-ed page for nearly five years. She’s also the author of a great book, Writing To Persuade.
My Key Takeaways:
- “We believe what we believe.” Trish says that facts and figures are rarely a match for the opinions shared in our social circles.
- “Play on feelings.” Stories with a strong emotional hook are more memorable than numbers — and more persuasive.
- “Surprise your reader.” A thoughtful contrarian take or an unexpected moment of mutual understanding will make a greater impact than vanilla talking points.
- What Trish says is the biggest mistake she’s seen writers make when they fail to grab an audience’s attention.
- How to get an editor excited about publishing your writing.
- Why it’s important to identify your target audience before you decide how to craft your message.
Complementary Episode: Dan Oshinsky, Former Director of Newsletters at The New Yorker and BuzzFeed, talked to me about how to write an email newsletter that deepens your relationship with both prospects and existing clients. Listen/read here.
Resources Featured In This Episode
Trish recommends these books for anyone who wants to study and improve their writing:
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Values Clarification Toolkit Click here to download this FREE tool and start living your values.