How to define your voice in communications writing

Voice isn’t just for English class.

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How to find your writing voice as a communicator

Voice colors the way your writing is received. It helps people understand how they should emotionally respond to a piece. The same ideas can come across very differently depending on the words you use. For instance:

“Our CEO is moving on to a new adventure! We’re grateful for all she’s done over her years of service. Please join us in wishing her the very best.”

Compared to:

“Our CEO has accepted another role. We wish her the best.”

The first is friendly, excited and positive, even though it’s conveying news that could be seen as destabilizing. It uses exclamation marks, positive language and a genuine call to action at the end.

The second is colder. More to the point. It makes it feel like something is being left unsaid. There might be times when that’s what you want, so it’s important to know how to switch between voices based on the specific piece you’re writing.

But how do you know what voice to use when? It starts by understanding the emotion you want to evoke, your audience and the purpose of the piece you’re writing.

Use the checklist below to help determine your voice for a given piece.

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