Are you, like many people, highly articulate when talking to someone face-to-face but find you struggle to find a personal writing style?
If you find yourself lapsing into stilted business-speak or rehashing industry jargon, here’s a simple tip I find keeps my writing style warm, friendly and personal. Picture the person you’re talking to in your mind as you write (if you’re writing for a group of people choose just one) and you’ll find you will automatically adopt a more conversational tone of voice. And another thing while we’re on the subject: use an active, rather than passive, sentence structure.
Using an active, rather than passive, voice is a simple way to make your writing more interesting and personal to the reader. After all, would you rather do something or have something done to you? Being aware of the voice you are using can make a huge impact on your writing. Just look at these examples:
Active She called the puppy Winston
Passive The puppy was called Winston
Active Her husband bought her flowers
Passive The flowers were bought by her husband
See the difference? Active sentences are direct, action-based and seem more interesting whereas passive sentences appear cold and impersonal in comparison.
One final piece of advice: be careful not to mix the active and passive voice (if you must use it) in the same sentence. For instance:
She did the washing, which was left out to dry
This starts well with an active voice (“She did the washing”) but then slips into passive mode (“which was left out to dry”). As the same person both did the washing and left the clothes to dry, this sentence would be better worded:
She did the washing and left it out to dry.
Remember, if you’d like some help writing to reach your customers, prospective customers, employees, or the wider world without sounding like a robot, just get in touch to discuss how we can help keep things personal!