How Can I Sound Relatable AND Like an Expert?
Other versions of this super common question that I hear from entrepreneurs is. . .
"How can I sound professional AND fun?"
"How can I write in a way that sounds casual, conversational and totally like me AND still be taken seriously?"
I get it. Most of us come from a world of work or academia where they brainwash the personality out of your writing style and replace it with something resembling a jargon-mouthed corporate robot.
That or you've got a bad case of mommy brain and if it isn't a simple, directive sentence a toddler would understand - you've got nothing.
I've been the robot. And I've had mommy brain more than once.
Here are my best tips and tricks for achieving the right tone. Because tone is what we're talking about here and it could be light, playful, funny, serious, sarcastic, intimate, fiery or so many more.
The best way to automatically sound conversational.
Use contractions. It's that easy. And it's surprising how many savvy entrepreneurs treat their website like a formal writing assignment with nary an apostrophe in sight. Contractions instantly add a conversational human element.
The best way to eliminate the corporate robot.
Replace your industry jargon with simple, clear language. Have a friend (outside your industry) read over what you've written if you're worried you've slipped back into the old cliches, acronyms and adages your industry is notorious for. It's more than just avoiding eye rolls from your clients (although that should be reason enough) there's psychology to back up why ditching the jargon is a good idea. Read more here.
The best way not to overshare.
So much of finding the right tone has to do with knowing WHO you're talking to. Understanding your audience (who's reading) and why they're reading can give you so many clues as to how playful you should be or how serious. Or what jokes are appropriate. Or how much swearing before you start to turn people off. Or what level of intimacy (candid sharing, raw authenticity and transparent moments) would be welcomed and build emotional connections vs cross the line into awkward uncomfortable silence. KNOW THY AUDIENCE - always.
The best way to nail the right tone.
Ask yourself: how do you want your audience to FEEL by the time they finish reading? If you want to inspire someone and get them fired up you're going to write in a completely different way than if you want to create a nurturing space that makes them feel held. So, before you write a word, ask yourself, "How do I want them to feel when they finish reading?" Because the answer to that question usually takes the guesswork out of the balancing act between fun/ professional/ playful/ serious.
The EASIEST I know way to achieve that balance between the real you that still gets to be taken seriously?
1. Use contractions.
2. Ditch the jargon.
3. Know your audience.
4. Ask yourself: How do I want them to feel?