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Transcript of TONE
Consider purpose of document
Determine message to be delivered
Consider how to express message
Susy is writing a job acceptance letter
Purpose: accept the position and thank for offer
Tone automatically becomes appreciative and ethusiastic
What is tone?
Why am I writing this document?
"Tone in writing refers to the writer's attitude toward the reader and the subject of the message. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one's tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges" (Ober 88).
How can I make sure my messages have the appropriate tone?
Why am I writing this?
Who am I writing to and what do I want them to understand?
What kind of tone should I use?
Who am I writing to?
What do I want them to understand?
Keep audience in mind
Very important to tailor document to specific audience
Tone directly affects how message is interpreted
Writing a cover letter for a position
"I hope you will contact me..." "I know my qualifications are not very impressive, but..."
"You can reach me at..." "My qualifications make me an excellent applicant for this position..."
Change of tone shows confidence and self-assurance
What kind of tone should I use?
Same kind of tone can be used for most business messages--guidelines below
Major exceptions are when needing to write a negative business message
Be courteous and sincere
Use appropriate emphasis and subordination
Use non-discriminatory language
Stress the benefits of the reader
Write at an appropriate level of difficulty
Be Courteous and Sincere
Prepare and be knowledgeable of material
Confidence has persuasive effect
the reader will do as you ask/accept your decision
Employers are inclined to hire confident people
Be careful not to sound overconfident
Build goodwill through polite and sincere tone
Being respectful and honest, readers will be more willing to accept your message, even if negative
Not: "You must agree I am qualified.."
But: "My qualifications meet your job requirements."
Not: "You didn't read instructions carefully..."
But: "The system may shut down if installation errors occur."
Place idea in a short sentence
Use active voice for person/thing performing action
Passive voice for action being performed
Repetition of idea (but don't overuse)
Place idea in a compound sentence
Use language like "a minor point" "least important"
Give less detail and place idea in middle of message
Very important to express equality and respect for all
Use neutral job titles "Chairperson"
Avoid demeaning or stereotypical terms
Avoid words/phrases that imply gender
Omit information about group membership
Use nonsexist situations
Benefits for Reader
Appropriate Level of Difficulty
Write from reader's perspective
Show reader what you can do for them
Address "What's in it for me?"
Match writing to reading abilities of audience
Don't use complex passages or terms
Avoid insufficient examples
Gracious and sincere tone
Avoid using active voice--draws attention away from self
Don't attack but make position clear on faults/issues
Presentation content from Purdue OWL: Tone in Business Writing
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