Writing to Persuade, Influence or Sell

Course summary

Writing to Persuade, Influence or Sell


Do you need to persuade or influence through your writing, or sell a product/service?

It isn't easy to find the right words and arguments, to stand above the competition, and to win the attention of people who might already be bombarded by other messages. This course will give you some essential tips, and show you the techniques used by advertisers.

We start the day by looking at the benefits – before you start a piece of writing – of knowing and profiling your audience.

Before lunch we examine the gentle art of persuasion, and elements for (and from) writing bid documents and proposals.

In the afternoon we explore some advertising and sales literature, and see how emotions and psychology are employed in writing.

The final session is a chance to apply the writing principles and techniques of the day, working on either something you have brought or the tutor’s exercise.

And if you want, before you go, see if your writing can persuade other delegates.

Programme details

9.45am   Registration

10.00am Planning your text – tune into your audience

Planning before starting to write.

Profiling your readers/ audience – understanding their background, perspective and possible reservations

11.15am Coffee/tea

11.35am Persuading your readers

Writing techniques that can persuade readers.

Tips for (and from) writing bid documents and proposals

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Selling – the power of advertising

How advertisements and sales literature use emotions and psychology to influence our decisions.

What elements can we use in our writing?

3.20pm Tea/coffee

3.50pm Practise writing skills

A chance to practise the writing techniques from the day, and (if you want to) test your writing’s persuasiveness on other delegates

5.00pm Course disperses

Recommended reading

Atkinson, I. FT Essential Guide to Business Writing: How to Write to Engage, Persuade and Sell (Financial Times, 2011)

Bullard, R. Business Writing Tips – For Easy and Effective Results (Perfect Text, 2015). [This is the course tutor.]

Mannering, K. Persuade People With Your Writing (Teach Yourself, 2012)

Shaw, M. Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising and Marketing (Laurence King, 2012)


Accommodation is often available in Rewley House for those who wish to stay on the night before a course. Please contact our Residential Centre on 01865 270362 for details of availability and prices.


Tuition fee: £66.50
Baguette lunch: £4.70
Full Meal: £13.50


You may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees if you are in receipt of a state benefit e.g. Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance, (a full list is available on request) or your sole source of income is a DWP State Retirement Pension and Pension Credit. Concessionary fees are limited to 3 courses per academic year and if you are already receiving concessions for weekly classes these will be taken into account. Documentary evidence of your status will be required.
Click here for an application form (Word, PDF)


Mr Robert Bullard


Robert Bullard is an Oxford based writer, editor and trainer in writing skills (perfecttext.org). He has been helping businesses and individuals with their writing since 2003, drawing on his previous experience as a feature writer for national broadsheet newspapers and websites, including the Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. He gives several training courses for the Department of Continuing Education.

Dr Mashail Haydar Ali

Director of Studies

Dr Ali is a Departmental Lecturer and Director of Studies in Language and Cultural Studies, OUDCE.