Tone. The way you address an audience. I find it all too commonplace in the professional services world to “preach” at an audience. This happens in our writing, our presentations and even our graphics. Yes, they get it – you are great! Stating your qualifications is one thing, but this simple idea is often taken much too far.
So rather than going on with bad examples I’ve seen (or written myself!), I’ll share some ideas I like to incorporate:
Be conversational. Address your written audience as though you are speaking to them. I mean really think about what you are writing, and if you could not say it out loud with a straight face – then don’t include it!
Say what matters. For example: ABC Firm was established in 1856. Fantastic! But what does that mean to the client? Does it mean your designs are old and stale? Or does it mean that you have withstood the test of time to remain relevant and prevail?
Eliminate the excess. Think of this as literary purging. We’ve been working with a writing consultant at my firm over the last few months, and it has caused me to take a much closer look at my own writing. Say what you mean and get to the point – adding text, just to add text wastes not only the reader’s time, but your own as well.
Obviously, your tone is very dependent on the audience. The government folks tend to like things a little more formal and clean, while a tech start-up would appreciate your casualness. At any rate, just remember that they are all people so it never hurts to add a little human touch!