The Role of Brainstorming in Persuasive Writing


Now we begin the process of writing out your persuasive argument. The first step in this process comes right after you know your goal. This step is known as brainstorming. While brainstorming is primarily done in groups, in this article, we will look at brainstorming in an individual setting.

Individual brainstorming is the method by which you brainstorm on a solitary basis. This type of brainstorming is used extensively in free writing and speaking, word association, and the spider web concept of brainstorming, which is when you diagram your thoughts. Studies have actually found that individual brainstorming is superior to that of group brainstorming, especially when writing. This is why it is so popular and effective for writing persuasive arguments.

Brainstorming has four primary rules that you should follow:

  1. You should always focus on quality. In brainstorming, there is the concept of quantity creating quality. This means that the more ideas you generate, the greater the chance that you will come up with a quality idea. It is the law of averages. Therefore, once you have created your list of ideas, you should expand only on the quality ones.
  2. You should withhold criticism of your ideas because some actually may be good ideas, but you don't realize their potential. Criticizing those ideas will only discourage you. When you don't criticize your ideas, you are much more likely to create out of the box ideas that could prove to be highly effective.
  3. You should also look at unusual and out of the box ideas as something that are most welcome in your list of ideas. With unusual ideas for your persuasive argument, you are generating new ways to look at things that can possibly create better solutions.
  4. You should also take various ideas and improve on them and combine them. You can take several good ideas and put them together so you can create one very good idea. This is often suggested in the concept of 1+1 = 3, which builds ideas by association.
When you are ready to brainstorm, you should have a pen and a piece of paper in front of you. At the top of the paper, write the goal you have in mind. Then, start writing down ideas of how you will achieve the goal of convincing other people to agree with you. You don't have to worry about facts and figures in this case, or how the people are going to respond to your points. Instead, just focus on the ideas and let them flow out of you in a stream of creative energy.

To help you brainstorm ideas for your persuasive argument, here are some tips to follow:

  • When you are trying to brainstorm, it is important to ask yourself questions and then write down the answers that come into your head. "Why do I need a raise?" "Why would the company give me a raise?" "Would I give myself a raise in their position?"
  • The questions you ask yourself should be open ended so that you can brainstorm in multiple directions. This is a technique often used in improvisation. If you limit the possibilities in improvisation, then the scene will go nowhere. The same applies with brainstorming. Try to stay away from yes and no answers as much as you can.
  • As we mentioned, do not shut down any of your own ideas until you are done brainstorming. You never know, but you may actually come up with a better idea by building on the idea you initially thought was dumb. This is very important, because the more confident you are with your own ideas, the better those ideas will be. No ideas are stupid, so don't cancel any of them out until the end.
  • Whatever idea comes in your head, make sure you record it. Write it down and then move on to the next idea.
  • Just because you only brainstormed for 20 minutes, that should not be the end of it. For the next day or so, keep a pad of paper with you so that you can write down more thoughts that come into your head that can help you with your persuasive argument.
  • Some of our best ideas come to us while we are sleeping, so also keep a pad of paper next to your bed in case you wake up in the middle of the night with another idea for your persuasive argument. Don't think, "I will write it down in the morning," because you will have forgotten it by then.
Brainstorming is an effective tool to creating a great persuasive argument, so make sure after you create your goal that you get right down to brainstorming ideas to help your argument, and make it as good as it possibly can be.

The Introduction

Now that you have begun to brainstorm ideas, you can start putting together the introduction to your persuasive argument. The introduction is very important, because this is where you tell the reader and audience exactly of what you are going to try and convince them. This is also where your goal comes into play, because you have to write out a thesis statement that effectively translates your goal into something the reader can understand and think about.

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There are two main points in writing an effective introduction. First, your introduction should be able to hook the attention of the reader almost immediately; and you should provide a brief background concerning your topic. Second, the introductory paragraph should end with a statement that clearly illustrates your main idea and point of view.

You should start off your introduction by stating your views. You don't need to be very specific with this because you will go into more detail later. The introduction just exists to lay out your main idea and the position that you have taken. In your introduction, the first statement or sentence you write will be your thesis statement. The thesis statement holds the basic idea that explains everything you are going to say in your persuasive argument.

After you have written down your opening sentence, you should write another sentence that will show the reader you see both the pros and the cons of the subject matter you are talking about. At this point, you will also want to mention your own point of view if you have not already mentioned it in the thesis statement you wrote at the beginning of the introduction.

Remember that a good introduction should be brief, concise, and end with a closing sentence that will be a transition to the next paragraph.

There are many ways to write your introduction, but to do it effectively, you will want to know your audience. You need to know who you are writing to in terms of their age, how they feel about the subject, and even their demographics. As we have mentioned, this is very important, because you want to ensure that you are speaking to people in an effective manner that will convince them your side is the side they should be on. Failure to know your audience can lead to a nearly immediate failure.

You can try the following strategies to help create a good lead-in to your introduction. If you don't know what lead-in to use, you can create several introductions using each type of lead to figure out which one will work the best for you:

  • You can start with an unusual detail. You do this because you want to grab the person's attention to what you are going to talk about. An example of this would be, "I have worked 789 days straight without taking a sick day."
  • You can start your introduction with a strong statement that will grab your reader's attention and immediately make them think about what you are talking about from your point of view. An example of this would be, "Every person in my department has been given a raise except for me, even though I have double the experience of most."
  • One great tip is to quote someone famous at the beginning of the statement. This is because we all identify with famous individuals and we usually respect them. Therefore, by quoting someone famous you are helping your cause by metaphorically getting that famous individual to support your argument.
  • A short and to-the-point anecdote can also work great in your introduction. People love anecdotes and by using one in your introduction, you will help to get the reader to think about what you are talking about in your introduction, and possibly agree with you.
  • If you are appealing to reason, then one of the best ways to make your introduction effective is by opening with a statistic or a fact. Studies have shown that people are more likely to believe a statement or argument if there is a statistic associated with it. An example of this would be, "The standard of living in our area has risen 17 percent, but my pay has only risen four percent in the same number of years."
  • If you are appealing to emotions, then you should start with an emphatic rhetorical question. You want to appeal to the emotions of the person reading your persuasive argument and this is a very effective way to do this. An example of this would be, "If you had a family of four, would you not want to provide them with the best opportunities life can offer? A raise can do that for my family."

You should sit down now and take the time to begin to formulate the ideas that you want to get across in your introduction. The introduction is the most important part of your persuasive argument. If you write a poor introduction, you will lose the interest of your reader almost immediately.