Writing with Authentic Tone & Voice
When you engage with your team, is your tone warm? Receptive? Friendly? Inviting? You’ve likely worked hard to come across this way, in order to develop trust—a key element for an engaged, motivated workforce.
However, tone is not limited to in-person or Zoom interactions. Try reading the last email you sent. Does it sound like you?
A Tonal Mismatch
If you’re like most of us, the tone of your written communications does not match the tone you use when you’re speaking to your team. That mismatch might have been manageable back when most people regularly met one another face-to-face in an office. As we shift to an era of hybrid work, however, where half or more of employees are working remotely at any given time, there are far fewer opportunities to spontaneously interact. Every communication is therefore a building block constructing how we’re perceived. So what we write—and perhaps even more importantly, how we write it—must represent who we really are.
In short, texts and emails don’t just need to convey information, they need to help maintain a consistent image of who we are, too. Which means they need to “sound” like us.
Begin by letting go of the idea that all emails should be formal and include impressive vocabulary. Instead, try writing like you would speak to a friend. Read the message aloud. Does it sound like what you’d say if you were speaking, rather than writing, to the recipient?
If you’re having trouble getting your writing to sound as personable as you really are, one adjustment you can make is consciously using the words “you” and “your” more often. This will help to keep the tone of your message friendly and let the reader know that you’re addressing them as an individual (rather than as, say, a faceless automaton).
When you’re able to address your team with a consistent, authentic voice that represents the real you, they will feel at ease no matter whether you are communicating face-to-face, on Zoom, by email, or on Slack. Comfort ushers in trust, and trust is essential to a productive, effective team.