A Detailed Guide to Using Conversational Tone in Writing

A conversational tone in writing is a simple and flexible way of thinking, writing, and connecting with people. It is essential to understand the shift it requires to transform your writing with that in mind.

What is Conversational Tone in Writing?

Conversational writing gives the impression of one-on-one dialogue between you and your readers. It should establish a sense of intimacy by employing language and phrases that the audience is familiar with. It also avoids using clichéd words and sentence structures at all costs!

With conversational writing, you can quickly do the following:

  • Get your message across
  • Better connect with customers
  • Improve brand strength
  • Get more people to buy

So, how is formal writing different from conversational writing.

When is Formal Writing Different from Conversational Writing?

Some simple rules help you tell the difference between writing casually and writing in a formal way. Some of them are:

Formal writing has longer sentences and words, more complicated sentence structures, and language that your college professors would be proud of. If you want to write a good academic paper, you should sound intelligent and serious.

But in the rest of the world, formal writing is often hard for people to understand. On the other hand, conversational writing lets you sound, well, like a person. And most people like to do business with other people.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

The Tone of the Dialogue

How you write depends on many things, like what kind of business you’re in, who your audience is, and what you want to say.

You can use a conversational tone with almost all content you make, like blog posts, social media posts, email copy, etc.

The goal of any piece of communication is to get your point across in a clear, memorable, and exciting way. You want people to listen to what you have to say.

Constantly writing in a conversational style makes your brand easy to understand and easy to remember.

11 Ways to Get Better at Writing in a Conversational Style

Formal writing takes a lot of work. Follow these 11 tips to give your writing an easy, conversational tone.

1. Choose simple words

Avoid using words you would never use in real life, like “utilize” instead of “use.” No one says “utilize”. Don’t forget that the point of writing is to connect, not to impress.

Also, try to stay away from jargon as much as possible. Write so that anyone can figure out what you mean.

2. Write in the second person

When you use “you” in the second person, you put the reader in the middle of the conversation. You talk about them more and yourself less.

3. Write short paragraphs

Don’t use too many words. Split up long sentences into a lot of shorter ones. This is because long sentences make it harder to read.

A long sentence can cause a reader’s mind to wander. By shortening your sentence, you make it easier for people to read and understand what you want to say.

4. Use contractions

Do you say, “I will go to school” or “I’ll go to school”?

We use contractions when we talk. We also do this when we write like we are talking.

5. Avoid passive voice

In an active voice sentence, the action of the verb is done by the subject of the sentence. But in the passive voice, the action happens to the sentence’s subject. It makes the sentence longer and more difficult to understand.

Take a look at these:

  • Active: You can take your order.
  • Passive: You can take back your order.

Which one makes people feel more secure?

The active voice is the clear choice.

6. Ask questions

A question makes people stop and think about what they want to say. It changes the way your words flow together. It keeps people interested in what you’re saying.

7. Break grammar rules

When you write in a conversational style, you may have to break some grammar rules — and that’s okay. That helps when you want your writing to sound friendly and easy to talk to.

Here are some grammar rules you can break:

  • And or but should never start a sentence. When you start a sentence with “and” or “but,” you can emphasize your point. How could you disagree with that? 
  • Don’t use contractions at all. Don’tcha know that contractions make a piece less formal and more friendly? 
  • Don’t put a preposition at the end of a sentence. It’s something to think about, for sure. 
  • Don’t put conjunction at the beginning of a sentence. A conjunction at the beginning of a sentence may make talk flow better.

8. Tell a story

A good story can make us think, feel, and act differently. It can stir up feelings and make people care about each other. Our minds just love to hear stories.

9. Let people know who you are

  • Tell your audience why you want to make the world a better place
  • Let your character, or the character of your brand, show…
  • Tell the story of how you got to be who you are.
  • Make up your way of using images and metaphors.
  • Tell people about how your business works behind the scenes.
  • Tell us about the mistakes you’ve made.

When you share a little bit about yourself in your content, people will be more interested and drawn to it. They’ll be curious about you.

And that’s the start of a long-term relationship.

10. Write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend.

Think of what you’re writing as a letter to a friend. Make people feel like they’re part of your group.

11. Say the words out loud.

Read your writing out loud and decide if it sounds like writing. If you can write how you talk, it will sound like you’re talking.

Or, try telling a friend what you’ve written. Then, put what you just told them in place of what you had written.

3 Tips for Writing in a Conversational Tone

I think we can all agree that empathy is what makes a conversation go well. You need to know what frustrates your readers about your writing and what makes them want to read more.

The writing in a conversation is simple and easy to understand. It helps get and keep the attention of your reader. 

Here are three tips for writing like you’re talking.

1. Don’t write to show off

Sentences that are hard to follow and words that are hard to understand make readers lose interest.

Consider it. Do you use jargon when you talk to your friends to sound smart? Do you use a lot of big words? I think that the answer is “no.” Just get rid of the big words. Simplify your sentences.

2. Use “YOU” frequently

When you use “YOU,” readers feel like you’re talking to them directly.

Imagine a conversation with a friend who is always talking about herself. This is not an excellent way to chat.

You should talk about your clients more and yourself less. Customers only care about what’s in it for them when they read your content. Always think about who you’re writing for. Count the number of times you say “YOU.” Use “YOU” more than “I” or “we” when you write.

3. Use the active voice

 Instead of writing “You will be contacted within 24 hours” (passive), write “I’ll contact you within 24 hours” (active).

When you use passive voice, you remind the reader that a ” writer is at work.” You break the illusion that we are having a conversation.

Get rid of the passive voice to make your sentences more explicit, direct, and easier to understand. 

When you write in a conversational tone, everything changes. This is the only way to get people to read what you have to say in the crowded world of content marketing.

Reasons to Use Conversational Tone in Business

To make your writing easy to understand

When you write in a conversational style, it’s easier for people to understand what you’re trying to say. They don’t have to look up words they don’t know or struggle to understand long grammatically correct sentences that are hard to follow. They can hear what you want to say to them.

To make readers feel something.

When writing shows emotion, readers are more interested in it. But feeling something doesn’t always mean DRAMA. It can also mean that this quarterly report or business book was written by a natural person and not a robot. When you make an emotional connection, readers are more likely to listen to what you say.

In short, writing in a conversational style makes it easier to get your point across and makes readers more likely to pay attention.

You can make your writing less formal and more conversational with a few simple changes.

Let up on the rules.

All the English rules you learned in school? You should stick to it most of the time, but sometimes you can bend them. Use an incomplete sentence if it helps make a point more clear. Feel free to split infinitives smartly. Conjunction can also start a sentence.

Use contractions

We use contractions all the time when we talk. You can use contractions in writing just like you would in speech unless you want to emphasize a point. 

For example, “If I were you, I really wouldn’t go.”

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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