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Finding your voice online

Richard Bell

With 55% of communication being conveyed via body language, it’s little wonder that digital communication is believed to be the best way to miscommunicate how you feel and misinterpret what other people mean.

In fact, when you look at face-to-face communication, what we say accounts for just 7% of being understood, with the remainder being about how we say it. What’s more, it’s  not hard to see why. The message in these two sentences is the same, but it’s easy to see which one most of would respond to:

“That’s the wrong way to do it.”

“Have you considered doing that another way?”

Tone of voice is an essential part of digital communication, as it not only conveys meaning, sincerity and character, but can also underpin the core values of your message. As such, getting it wrong or being inconsistent can jeopardise the relationship a brand builds up with its core audience.

Consider how differently we might perceive some brands if their formal and authoritative tone was replaced with a cheeky and flippant one. While it might work for a new pizza company, we’re less likely to appreciate it from the NHS or our banks.

“Bank of Blingland: Founded in 1694, looking after your money since 2015.”

While playful posts can be memorable and, perhaps, amusing, for some firms they may not be ideal for supporting a core message of sincerity and trust. To look at it another way, just how likely would you find yourself booking a children’s entertainer who used hackneyed business jargon in his online posts?

“Results driven, blue sky-thinking performing artist, Bozzo the Clown, specializes in pre-teens entertainment. Thinking outside the box, Bozzo dots the i’s and crosses the t’s to ensure maximum performance from any action plan.”

Getting the right tone of voice is essential. So, when it comes to creating online content, the message is only half the story; as with all good tales, it’s how you tell them.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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