Mastering a Persuasive Essay Outline: Learn To Convince People

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A persuasive essay is a standard high-school, college, and university exercise. The majority of students take it as a formality, so they don’t understand why:

  • they need it anyway
  • they have trouble writing such essays>
  • their grades for persuasive essays are lower than they expected.

Unfortunately, they don’t see that writing persuasive essays is beneficial for their future. As a result, they underestimate such essays hugely. A persuasive essay is a key to learn how you can defend your interests in all spheres of your life and, eventually, how to become a proper leader. As you can’t organize your arguments orally, any essay must be done in written form. Later, when you prepare for any briefing or discussion, you will have to write down whatever you have to say. You have to regard writing a persuasive essay as a piece of training to creating persuasive speeches. If you know how to deal with these two pieces of writing, you’ll never have any difficulties with persuading anyone in anything. Do you still see persuasive essays as useless drills created to torture students just like you? Hopefully, not. Usually, you start with persuasive essay outline. But to get how you can use it at best value, it is necessary to understand what a persuasive essay is.

Defining a Persuasive Essay

You have probably noticed that any outspoken attempt to make people do what you want them to do rarely works. Moreover, its result is often a polar opposite of the initial message. It happens so because it is natural for every human being to struggle for the freedom of choice. One may contradict that all of us still eagerly follow the ideas put into our heads by others. The examples are plentiful, but the most obvious one is political trends. Sometimes we feel that we would be happy not to pay attention, but we still have some opinions. And in 99% of cases, these opinions are virtuously sold to us.

The ultimate goal of a persuasive essay writing is to sell ideas just like politicians do. A persuasive essay outline for college works the same way as an outline for a political speech.

It comprises the major points you are going to use to convince your readers that your opinion is unquestionable.

It is an exciting task because your reader is, first and foremost, your teacher and the topic is usually aimed at students. Thus, you literally have to convince a person to believe in something irrelevant to him or her. Also, your teacher should clearly see how you have done it to be able to estimate your work. From this point of view, writing a persuasive essay at school is a more complicated task than writing a persuasive speech for a president.

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For example, if you are writing about how important it is for a STUDENT to avoid perfectionism the positive response of your teacher may be as follows:

The persuasive essay structure is right, and all the arguments are settled well. Other students could have bought it.

  • The research seems credible. There are plenty of bright ideas and examples. The kid knows what he (or she) is talking about.
  • Why haven’t I known this before? It could be quite handy when I was at college! I should probably teach my kids that.
  • As you see, these examples of a positive response are settled in accordance with their intensity or, in other words, how strong the feeling caused by your essay is.

Creating the Outline

The first response was pre-determined mainly for academic reasons. The persuasive essay format is of critical importance. It presupposes a clear introduction-body-conclusion structure.

Before you can move on to writing your essay, it is necessary to structure your thoughts. A persuasive essay is not a free flow of the mind. Everything should be in the right place. If you want to learn how to convince people more efficiently, it is time to master creating a persuasive essay outline.

Today, even kids at primary school know that it is a good idea to plan everything. An outline is more than a plan. It is a strategic tool used to accomplish the goal of your writing. As the essay type we are talking about is quite specific, the importance an outline for persuasive essay increases. You may be sure that you are a talented writer. You may also believe that you can write an essay right from your heart, but you can’t. After a bunch of preliminary notes, you should pull yourself together, observe the inevitability of the next step, and write the outline according to the structure.

The Right Start – Introduction Outline

Aim. Fire. The introduction of an excellent persuasive essay features a catchy message, widely known as a ‘hook.’ It is used to spark the interest and make the reader eager to read further. It may be informative, but it should be put in the correct words. Leave ‘Have you ever known…’ questions for your persuasive speeches. You are better to start an essay with a narrative sentence. It can be a thought-provoking fact of a controversial statement.

Topic. Just like in any other essay type, a persuasive essay intro presents the topic under consideration. This is where you “tell them what you are going to tell them.”

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Thesis Statement. Each essay introduction has to contain one. What makes the most difference in the case of a persuasive essay is that you should present the thesis in the form of a problem. The arguments of your persuasive essay are solutions to this problem. For example: “You can’t perform well if you don’t get rid of your perfectionism.”

Writing an introduction outline is also the time to choose whether you are going to write your essay in the first, second, or third person. The third person is ‘less persuasive’ of all. It is good to tell about your experience using the first person singular, but people sometimes get irritated when an essay writer is all ‘me-me-me!!!’ ‘We’ is much better. But the best choice is the second person. When you address people directly, it is easier to influence them. However, if you are not allowed to use the first and second persons, you’ll have to try a little harder.

Body Paragraphs: For the Rescue!

The main body of a persuasive essay usually consists of three paragraphs. Each of them is a reason why the reader should adopt your viewpoint or/and do what you say. You are better to demonstrate this reason as a problem as well, and you should support it with evidence. You can replace the evidence by solutions to the problem you state, or it can be the mixture of both. As an example:

Problem #1

Perfectionism makes you procrastinate.

Evidence #1

Perfectionism causes anxiety which doesn’t let you start working.

Solution #1

Get a trigger to start.

Problem #2

Perfectionism causes stress that impacts your overall performance and the quality of living.

Evidence #2

There is even statistical data proving that the risk of the suicide is higher with perfectionists.

Solution #2

Get motivated with stories about failure told by famous people.

Problem #3

Perfectionism is a delusion that cannot be fulfilled.

Evidence #3

The majority of the most celebrated artists, composers, and writers were misunderstood once. If perfection was reachable, there couldn’t have been the second opinion.

Solution #3

Create unique things, not perfect.

As opposed to other essay types, body paragraphs don’t have to be evidently coherent. They have a resemblance with a check-list. However, an overall coherency of the text is still a must.

The Finishing Shot: A Convincing Conclusion

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A persuasive paper outline has to include the preliminary plan of the conclusion. Like the introduction, this part of a persuasive essay has peculiarities of its own. Your conclusion has to go as follows:

Summarizing your topic and the key arguments.

Motivation. Make the reader act immediately. No matter what your topic is, you have to create a feeling that if readers don’t do what you want, here and now, the consequences may be severe. Pay attention, even when politicians say something ‘positive’ in their speeches about ‘greatness’ and ‘freedom,’ they make an emphasis on what ‘we all’ (meaning – you) are to do to keep it the way it is.

Perks. Create some vivid pictures showing the positive consequences of doing what you say.

The Most Obvious Example from Real Life

An outline doesn’t only show you how to write a persuasive essay step by step. It is a great tool for your future career. Here is how the outline of a persuasive text (it may be a written speech, a manifest, etc.) works in politics, for example.

Introduction. We are the great nation. BUT we have to keep it this way, or demonstrate it to others, or reduce the pressure of others. These but’s are problems.

Body Paragraphs. It can be anything connected with the current situation put in the form of sub-problems to the one stated in the intro.

Conclusion. So, we have some issues. And it is up to us (again, meaning – you) to solve them. All we (see our point?) need to do is to support this or that candidate, or policy, or initiative, or company, or anything else. Make up your mind RIGHT NOW and start acting. No time to wait.

And this is how you do it. Arguments keep varying, but the outline template stays the same for centuries. Your readers can be smart and keen on psychology, but if the problem and arguments speak to them, it will work.

Final Remarks

We don’t claim anything about politics here, but it is interesting that you don’t have to be completely honest in your persuasive essay. Structure and arguments are very important. The stronger the facts and evidence you rely on, the better. But it is most vital to understand that a persuasive essay should be aimed at making your readers emotional. Dry statistics will not impress anybody, even if you swear it is true. Emotional background of your essay is a determining factor of your teacher’s response. There are plenty of ways to appeal to people’s emotions: from humor to personal stories from your life. Use right stylistic devices to be more convincing.

Knowing how to write a persuasive essay can be of great help in your future life. A good essay starts with an outline, which, in its essence, is a half of a job. Use the template we described here, and you’ll have no difficulty with your writing.