GrammarPhile Blog

Does Having a Voice Matter in Business Writing?

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Mar 8, 2018 7:30:00 AM

having a voiceEstablishing a voice in your writing isn’t just beneficial for writers of novels and opinion-based columns. It’s beneficial for all types of writers, including business writers.

When you distinguish your voice in your business writing, you reveal your professional personality to your bosses, coworkers, clients, and a broader industry-wide audience. Instead of sounding like a robot rambling off statistics and numbers in a report, or coming across as an unreliable novice, you become an approachable expert who can offer real guidance and support when necessary.

Continue reading to see the benefits of establishing a voice in your business writing, as well as some tips for developing and maintaining your voice.

Benefits of Having a Voice in Your Business Writing

When business writers establish their voice in their writing, they’re establishing consistency across their bodies of written work. Their reports, manuals, proposals, research, etc. begin to contain the same breadth and elements, and they become more trustworthy. And that makes it easier for writers to build an audience of other professionals who grow to rely on them for research and content.

Here are the benefits of having a voice in your business writing.

Allows You to Better Connect with Your Target Audience

While following a style guide and grammar rules is beneficial, creating a distinct voice is one of the better ways to connect with your audience and build rapport with them. If you’re known for objectively covering both sides of a complex issue, breaking things down into steps that are easy to understand, or for unpacking how to apply spreadsheets of data and information to real-world scenarios, you’ll start to build a target audience that benefits from and seeks your perspective. For example, if you write case studies for technology companies but only highlight the findings, that’s much different than also detailing what those findings mean for a particular organization within a particular niche. Your voice should ultimately offer some additional value to its readers. And the readers who benefit the most from your writing will be your target audience.

Establishes Your Brand and Recognition of Your Brand

When you establish a voice in your business writing, your business or brand becomes associated with certain techniques, a level of quality, a unique perspective, and more. For instance, a business writer who writes a detailed report on how legislation determines the financial health of the pharmaceutical industry offers a much different perspective than a writer who takes the same data and information and applies it to a report on how legislation impacts the everyday consumer of prescription drugs. And a business that always offers cutting-edge research becomes recognized as a business that’s innovative and adaptable, while another business may take that cutting-edge research and analyze it for a more in-depth perspective and become associated with more in-depth reporting. As most business writers already know, not every business offers the same level of analysis and original research in their documents.

Enhances Your Credibility and Level of Responsibility

Once you connect with your target audience, they will begin to trust you and look for your writing. And as more and more professionals and businesses look for your writing, your credibility as a business writer will increase.

When you make more connections and engage in more business collaborations, the level of responsibility your business writing entails will increase too. You’ll go from highlighting basic research findings discovered by other businesses to conducting and analyzing your own original industry research. And you’ll become a reliable industry expert who can create powerful proposals and written communications that will help businesses make smart decisions that will increase their bottom lines.  

Tips for Developing and Maintaining Your Voice in Your Business Writing

Ask Yourself Why You’re Writing What You’re Writing

Overall, remember that your writing voice should always be geared toward your target audience—those who will be reading and using your writing for their own business purposes. Different industries, niches, and groups will benefit from different voices. For instance, a group of physicians who operate family practices will want information about new vaccines and medical procedures described and addressed in a very different way than what a director of a hospital or a pharmacist would require.

And don’t forget why you’re writing what you’re writing. Even if you aren’t writing direct marketing material, your business writing may still require elements of persuasion and sensitivity. They still have a specific purpose. Business proposals, communications, and some user manuals, for instance, may require a specific voice for readers. Ultimately, you’ll want to use a voice that shares information with your target audience in a way that is meaningful and helpful to them.   

Know the Difference Between Your Voice and Your Tone and Style

Tone indicates the writer’s attitude toward what she or he is writing. For instance, a writer can use a sarcastic, witty, casual, or humorous tone. Business writers should always write in confident, sincere, and respectful tones, unless their target audiences can greatly benefit from a different type of tone. And they should never use a condescending, derogatory, or dismissive tone if they want to gain their audience’s trust.

Additionally, a business writer’s style is more about how she or he organizes a piece of writing. Do they use chapters, subheadings, etc.? Do they follow a particular style guide?

While tones and styles can work together to create a more distinct business writing voice, they are still separate and different from the writer’s complete voice and perspective.

Always Write in the Active Voice

In grammar, there is the “passive voice” and the “active voice.” In business writing, always use the active voice to establish your authority and reliability. Think of the following example and which option you would want to see in your weekly sales report:

Passive Voice: An error may have caused the ordering platform to stop working for several days, which impacted the dates on the sales report.

Active Voice: The dates listed on the sales report are inaccurate because the ordering platform stopped working for several days.  

As you can see, the active voice is clearer, more direct, and easier to understand.

Try to Avoid Too Much Jargon When Using Your Voice

To further emphasize the authority and simplicity in your business writing, don’t use too many euphemisms, industry slang words, or acronyms that are easily confused or difficult to decipher. Your business writing voice should always aim to be clear and effective for your target audience.

If you want your business writing voice to become trustworthy and credible, then use industry jargon sparingly, when it genuinely builds a deeper rapport with your target audience. Don’t use it just to cut corners or save space on a page.

Remember to Remain Professional

Don’t use too much humor or any derogatory and combative remarks in your writing. It should go without saying that the integrity of your work will constantly be questioned and pushed to the side if you don’t maintain a respectful and authoritative tone in your business writing.

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Do you think having a voice matters in business writing? Do you have any additional tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Topics: writing voice, business writing

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