4 Simple Steps
To Creating a Voice that Connects with Readers

In this world of anonymous crowds overflowing with written chatter until we can hardly pick out a single voice, let alone remember it, people respond to your writing only when they feel a connection with you. To earn their attention, your written voice must show real personality, so they feel another human voice speaking to them – one they want to hear. If you actually sit down and think about what you want your voice to convey and how to convey it, the process is simple and the benefit huge – people will listen.

Step 1: List 4-6 qualities you want people to perceive in your written voice.

These traits might be your personal strengths in relation to your work, the strengths of your colleagues who work directly with your clients/constituents, or the traits that your organization aims to personify because they are what your audience needs. You will create the strongest sense of personality when the traits you choose address how the personality you are depicting does all three of the following:  relates to others, envisions itself, and addresses its work.


  • In writing writtenwings.com and the Flight Log, I decided to maintain a voice consistent with what people have told me that they most appreciate when meeting me professionally in person: warmth, inspiration to serve others, confidence, knowledge/talent, strong work ethic, and straightforwardness.
  • If you are helping young Latinas prepare for and find jobs, your list might be of the traits you know your constituents connect with best, such as: self-worth, strength, drive to achieve, sisterhood, sassiness, and humor.
  • If you are an organic landscaper, your list might be of traits that all your best staff have in common: nature-loving, conscientious, artistic, reliable, knowledgeable, and thorough.

Step 2: Repeat what you hear.

Brainstorm a list of words and phrases you hear often from staff or constituents/clients, and use the same ones in your writing. For instance, the organic landscaping staff might use words and phrases like: harmonious, herbs, non-GMO, local, natural beauty, garden ecosystem, soil mineral content, heirloom breeds, the way nature intended, eco-friendly, etc. They might say wildflowers instead of weeds and speak positively of birds, insects, and deer, rather than complaining of them.

Step 3: Feel the qualities as you write.

Once you have your lists, the best way to portray your chosen qualities strongly is to really feel them when you write. Then you will find yourself focusing on what matters to the personality you want to depict, and you will express yourself in words that fit. This is easiest when your top traits are ones that come forth in you naturally through your work, as in the example of the voice I use for my business. When I write about my work, I try to center myself and focus on how it inspires me, humbles me, warms me, and makes me want to give my best; the words flow well from there. When I am using my writing to depict a strategic voice for a client, rather than my own voice, I imagine my client speaking through me when I write. Likewise, if my traits are hand-picked to connect with my audience rather than to portray particular people who serve them, I imagine someone from that audience in front of me, responding to what I write as if I just spoke it, and I edit until I can realistically imagine the reaction I seek. This technique is rather like method acting. When you get yourself to really feel the personality you are depicting, the result is noticeably more genuine, whether you are acting or writing.

Step 4: Critique your drafts with voice in mind.

Read through your writing to see exactly where you can find the traits you seek to depict and if you can find phrasing that contradicts them. Consider marking each trait with a different color highlighter. Better yet, ask someone else to do this. For instance, the organization helping young Latinas get good jobs would show strength and self-worth with phrases like we will and you can, and mark up uncertain ones like we think and less empowering ones like you should. The sentence, “We try to put our hearts into everything we decide to do and to choose not to listen to naysayers,” might be edited to read, “We do everything with corazón, and we don’t listen when they say we can’t.” Notice how much stronger the personality is in the second sentence, and how much better it fits the traits of self-worth, strength, drive to achieve, sisterhood, sassiness, and humor.


Following these 4 steps will help you create a consistent, recognizable brand voice and use it throughout your communications. This voice will attract and retain the right people, create a social atmosphere conducive to success, and be remembered. Most importantly, it will give people a way to connect with your organization on a human level, as though it were another person whom they like.


  • Nice and concise. I had never thought of it quite this way. I will be sharing with fellow authors and writers!

    August 18, 2015
    • Erica

      I’m very happy to hear that you find it so helpful that you plan to share it with others! Thanks so much for letting me know, Ellen!

      September 09, 2015

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