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Setting the ‘Write’ Tone in Business Communications

Think about the various tones you’ve experienced in your lifetime. There was Mom’s tone when she told you for the 537th time not to let the dog in the house with muddy paws. There was grandma’s tone when you knew she was luring you over so she could pinch your cheeks. There was the tone of your first boss who had to remind you that flirting with the customers in the concession line was not part of your job description. And how about the tone you use when you express pride in your child’s accomplishments?

Tone makes an impression, doesn’t it? When you consider memories and conversations from your past, thinking about the tone can really bring them to life. The same is true with your business writing. You have the choice between lulling your readers to sleep like Ben Stein or pulling them into an engaging account of your story or request.

The Importance of Tone in Business Writing

Setting the ‘Write’ Tone in Business CommunicationsTone is important — nearly as important as the actual words you’re putting down. How do you want to convey your message to your reader? Is it light hearted and including some well-inserted jokes would make it even better? Is it a somber topic and your recipient needs to know that you take the matter to heart and seriously?

When you decide what your message is, you’ll need to decide what type of tone you’re going to use. Tone certainly plays a large part in your writing voice, but depending on the topic, your tone can change. You wouldn’t use the same tone and approach when sending a company-wide email about how your business will be supporting homeless veterans this Veterans Day as you would when crafting a blog about National Goof Off Day.

Standards in Tone for Business Writing

Though the levity of your tone can vary, there are a few standard rules you want to adhere to when it comes to the tone of your business communications:

  • Be confident. You want your readers to recognize you as an expert in your field and you want them to take you seriously. Always write confidently and using active voice.
  • Be respectful. Speak as neutrally as possible, avoiding gender pronouns. Write in a broad manner that is inclusive.
  • Be positive. Avoid writing in a negative manner. Instead of telling them what happens if they don’t take action, show them the glorious things that they will benefit from if they do! Always put a positive spin on your writing.
  • Be genuine. When you are inauthentic, your readers and recipients know. Writing can be awkward and clunky. Write like the passionate entrepreneur you are, and welcome your reader in.

Need some help getting your business communications, blogs or website content just right? Contact the professionals at All Things Writing, LLC. We’ll help you nail that perfect tone and masterfully appeal to your readers every time.


ATW – All Things Writing, a Prince William Living partner, is a full-service content development and content marketing company on a mission to help clients shine online and in print. Coming from private, government and nonprofit sectors, our clients get the kind of content that builds their brand, reputation, image and presence through customized material and personalized services. You can be one of those clients and benefit from the experience and dedication of ATW and our USA-based partners.

Erin Pittman, Lead Editor

A project manager, writer and editor, Erin Pittman has almost a decade of professional experience in both print and online materials. She holds a BA in English from Randolph-Macon College. Her work has been featured in local and national publications, as well as on various local and national websites and blogs. Writing topics include marketing, personal finance, special needs, military, parenting, seniors, local events, real estate, service industries, business profiles and more.