Many of us change character when we write. Instead of being our natural selves (warm and
friendly), we become unduly formal and impersonal, perhaps under the impression that s 1 or
big words will impress.
In today’s ever-shiQing business environment, where people oQen need to establish friendly
rela ons quickly, it is a beDer strategy to write naturally and sincerely, as oneself (though
oneself as a knowledgeable professional).
Two good ways to achieve a sincere, natural tone follow.
For a homework assignment or class exercise, consider asking the students to develop a
WhoPrint of their “writer’s persona.” A WhoPrint is an adver sing term for the individual
consumer that adver sing copy targets. For this exercise, students would =nd an image of their
writer’s persona online, and list the values, style, beliefs, ac vi es, and favorite words and
phrases of this person. An alter ego of sorts, this persona can lessen the fear of wri ng because
students have a construct in mind when coming to the page. You may even include one of your
own in this presenta on to entertain students and lighten the mood.
Accentua ng the posi ve also helps create goodwill and pleasant rela onships.
This does not mean that nega ve words are always inappropriate. They are strong, they
command aDen on, and some mes you will need to use them.
But most of the me you will =nd the posi ve words to be more useful.
Posi ve words tend to put readers in a good frame of mind; they build goodwill. Nega ve words
—such as damage, error, mistake, problem, loss, and failure—produce the opposite e1ect.
Also called clichés, rubber stamps are words we use without thought every me a certain