Written Communications - 6 Tips on Language & Tone

In most aspects of business, we will be expected to write a message to a client or customer, in the form of a letter, memo or e-mail. Language and tone in these communications is vital to the relationship with the recipient, and can mean the difference between a sale and a lost prospect. Therefore, we cannot afford to get it wrong. Following are six tips on how to write to a customer or client to ensure the best possible outcome.

1. Use the Correct Tone

The tone of your correspondence should reflect the message that you are trying to put across. Using an inappropriate tone can cause your message to sound frivolous, abrasive, aggressive or rude. For example, when writing a complaint, the tone should not be dismissive or rude, but should concentrate on stating the facts.

2. Be Considerate

Show consideration for the person you are corresponding with. Examples of ways to show consideration are as follows;

 Respond as quickly as possible to correspondence. If you are unable to, at least communicate a brief apology in advance or an explanation. This shows that you value the correspondent.

 Respect the views and positions of the correspondent. If you have a different viewpoint, express it tactfully and resist making any comments that may offend.

 If you should find yourself on the receiving end of a clearly offensive communication, resist the temptation to respond in a similar tone. Take the higher ground, and don't encourage conflict.

3. Be Sincere

In your communications, avoid sounding scripted or rehearsed. Write naturally and as yourself, as you would if you were having a conversation. Show an interest in what the correspondent has to say. But don't be too familiar!

Be Brief

It is likely that your correspondent is a busy person, with a lot to read. Keep your correspondence brief and to the point. Not only will it hold their attention, they will also appreciate your consideration.

Write Simply

Avoid using long-winded, complicated words and phrases. They can confuse the reader, and ruin the effect of your message. Writing simply will convey your message quickly and efficiently.

Check your Details

Before sending your message, check it thoroughly to ensure you have not omitted any important details. Make sure your presentation and content are consistent throughout. Often, your first communication is the one that you'll be best remembered for!

Happy Writing!

Michelle Payne-Gale is the owner of Essence Business & Admin Support Services, specialising in virtual administration, marketing & creative support for start-ups and growing businesses. Additional articles are available at: http://www.essence-services.co.uk. View the Essence blog at http://essence05.blogspot.com. She is also an active partner in the creation of the Caribbean tourism website, http://www.stay-in-antigua.com.

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