Professional Writing Tone: What’s Right for You?
Establishing an appropriate professional writing tone can be a challenge. The written word can be tricky to translate. Not into other languages, but from spoken words into those lines and curves we read on screens and on paper. What’s often lost in translation is tone.
Let’s play with that idea. Tone refers to more than just words. It’s the brightness, depth, tint or shade of a colour. It’s contraction or relaxation of a muscle. It’s the pitch or quality of sound, in music or speech.
Tone can be vivid. Or dull.
Here’s the tricky part: tone isn’t just what you produce. It’s also what’s perceived by the listener or reader. Your writing tone can be easily misunderstood because we filter every bit of information we consume according to our preferences and view of the world. When you write, you can’t add in the richness of the in-person experience: facial expressions, gestures, the sound of humour or sincerity.
But that shouldn’t stop you from using a professional writing tone that’s uniquely your own. Or even a bit daring. You will always keep your audience in mind. You have to, if you want to be remotely successful in business, but it’s always about that connection between you and them, what you sell and what they want to buy.
Your writing tone should enhance your audience connection. And — deep breath — once you know you have it right, you shouldn’t worry that some people won’t connect.
How you communicate with customers should flow naturally from your verbal communication to your professional writing tone. The person reading your website should immediately recognize your voice on the phone. Not from the sound of your voice, but the way you put words together.
Don’t confuse “appropriate” with “safe”. Safe writing cowers in the dusty corners of mediocrity and inspires no one. Your appropriate writing tone flows naturally. It’s professional as well as personable. It comes from your respect for your customers as well as your passion for your work. People hear that in your voice. Let them see it in your writing.