Archives for posts with tag: Voice

When you’re getting introductions to people over social media platforms like LinkedIn, it always helps to see a picture of the person. It helps you put a personality to the person.

When it’s the other way round – in other words when you speak to someone over the phone before you actually meet them, and you don’t know what they look like – you have to speculate on what the owner of that voice will look like.

Voices and faces are strange bedfellows in my experience. I often imagine what someone looks like and acts like from their voice, as it helps me make the connection in my head. I almost always get it completely wrong.

When you meet them, the face never seems to fit the voice you’ve listened to. Or, put another way, the face we put to the voice is not the face that belong with that voice.

Try doing it with a radio DJ, whose picture you’re not familiar with, obviously. If you don’t know what they look like, and ten people take a guess, I’m sure the guesses will vary wildly. Is that guess based on our own unique experiences? Probably.

It always reminds me how much can be wrong with the assumptions we make about people.

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You could argue that the subject of this post could be a motto for life, not just for business writing. After all, it’s better to effect things than be affected by them. It gives you more control over your destiny, more flexibility in your choices.

In business writing, it’s also better to be active than passive, especially if you are writing ‘persuasive’ documents like business cases or sales proposals. As an example, look at the previous paragraph. The active ‘voice’ is more powerful at effecting something, whereas the passive voice governs being affected by something.

Try and avoid phrases like ‘the ROI calculation can be found below.’ It sounds stuffy and conservative, but also weak and, well, passive. You’re writing this document, you’re in charge of it, so take control. Better to say ‘The ROI calculation below shows the value of our service to your business.’

The active voice is to do with action, and when it comes to your business writing, it’s action you want your reader to take, otherwise why take the time to write at all?