Avoid Antagonizing Your Readers

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Avoid antagonizing your readers. An important reminder about holding your readers comes from basic psychology: Don’t make them angry. You’ll surely lose them if you do. Few of us are open minded enough to read through a piece of writing that attacks our beliefs or makes fun of people or institutions we cherish. But you can often get people to consider your point of view if you use moderate language and keep certain principles in mind:

Show respect for your audience. Assume your readers are intelligent, thoughtful people of goodwill who will respond to a reasoned argument. Emphasize values and goals you may have in common and work from there.

Use moderate language. Avoid extreme adjectives such as vicious, immoral and intolerable when you’re constructing an argument. Readers who don’t already agree with you will get defensive and quit reading. Those who do agree may be offended by your diatribes.

Write provisionally, not dogmatically. State your points in tentative and conditional terms that get your ideas across but don’t sound aggressive. Try expressing your ideas with phrases like it’s possible that .., we might consider…, perhaps we should think about… or can I suggest… Sentences like let’s see if we can agree and I hope you’ll take our suggestion into consideration create an atmosphere of cooperation and courtesy in which your readers can pay attention to your proposals because they’re not forced to defend their positions.

Unfortunately, because the hosts of TV and radio talk shows seem to be live that controversy attracts more viewers than a courteous exchange of opinions would, we have few public models of people engaging in dialogue to reach agreement. The reality is, however, that in democracies you get things done through compromise and negotiations. Those are good skills to work on in your writing.

Other Pages in This Section :

Choose A Good Title.

Write Strong Leads.

Keep Your Writing Tight And Unified.

Keep Your Sentences and Paragraphs to a Reasonable Length.

Chunk Your Writing Into Manageable Units.

Make Your Writing Look Good.

Use Figurative And Connotative Language Sparingly.

Avoid Stereotypes And Offensive Labeling.

Maintain A Civil Tone.

Successful Writing Index

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