How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Emphasis in Writing
Sometimes you have to persuade through the written word alone which, if this is makes up only 7% of communication, makes it very difficult to persuade. There are, however, several ways to emphasis in written language.
One way of enlivening and emphasizing in written text is to use strong words that trigger emotional reactions. Just as strong words in spoken language grab attention, so they also work in written work.
"If you really love me then you will..."
When a word or phrase is embedded within a sentence, it does not stand out as well. You can use the space on the page to make what you want people to remember to stand out, so...
Remember to Save the Whales
Written words can also be made to stand out by using the standard text devices, as below:
On a computer, you may also find other ways of emphasizing, such as using shadow, double underline, etc. Do consider the computer on which it will be read. If you are using graphics on a website, for example, it could make the reader with a slow modem give up waiting before they've even set eyes on it.
Headings in text are great places for emphasis of key points you want to make. You'll note that we use colored headings to help them stand out (and to add some visual variation in an otherwise deliberately simple layout).
Do remember to be consistent in your use of emphasis and abide by common rules. If you use different methods of emphasis for the same sense, then you will only confuse the reader. And readers are not bound by the manners which keep them listening to you face-to-face. If what you write is unclear or uncomfortable, they can usually stop at any time.
Have you ever received advertisement literature through the door that is plastered with bright color, uses many different fonts and is full of 'persuasive' words? Were you taken in? Of course not - in fact you were probably so dazzled you threw it immediately into the bin.
One word causes a slight tension, a whole section amplifies and sustains this. If you use emphasis a lot, it will its effect and is to make the other person rather !! So be conservative. Emphasis in writing works only because it makes words stand out.
As with many other forms of communication, it is very easy to over-do emphasis, to the point where it no longer has any impact. Emphasis works when it uses contrast with the surrounding text, and when its use is a surprise, not when it is used as a sledgehammer. This may trigger confusion, which results in them acting in a way that you do not want.