Whenever we write there’s the opportunity to use a different voice. Your voice sets the tone, it helps improve understanding of the topic and it engages the reader to keep reading.
Think about your audience and the message you want to deliver.
- Is the audience familiar with your topic?
- Are you delivering a change message?
- Are you presenting a legal agreement?
- Are you telling a personal story about adventure or travel?
Choosing an appropriate voice for the style of writing is an important step. A casual communication with a familiar audience would typically be written in first or second person point of view. A more formal communication would generally be written in third person. If you’re writing in a formal way, you want to be more direct and to the point — keeping in mind the importance of plain language!
So what’s the difference?
When we talk about voice, consider these points of view.
Speaking in first person helps build relationships and helps you express a point of view — the writer’s. It’s often used when talking about yourself and expressing your feelings or understanding. When you write in the first person, you use the pronoun “I”.
I walked into the dark room afraid of what might be hiding behind the curtain.
I’m going to walk you through three easy steps.
You use second person to tell the story from the viewpoint of someone else, generally using the pronoun “you”.
You walked into the room without knowing what to expect.
It’s a great recipe. Try it out yourself!
Third person point of view is probably the most common. It uses pronouns like he, she, him, her, they or a person’s name. It let’s you talk from a broader perspective.
Anthony walked into a room where he heard a loud crash.
The students cheered when they received their final grades.
The way you write will set your unique style and the mood for how your writing is read and received. Whatever point of view you choose, be sure to maintain it throughout your communication or story.
What’s your favourite point of view?