Tone of voice
The way we use the words we choose (whether written or spoken) plays a big part in convincing people of who we are – from the moment they visit our website, watch a video, open an email or encounter a presentation.
To ensure all our communications are effective and impactful, the University needs a strong verbal identity alongside it’s visual one. Our Tone of Voice Guidance has been developed to create this, to help guarantee all internal and external communication captures what makes the University of Hertfordshire so unique. It is important that through the way we write and speak, the University’s values and personality are conveyed in a consistent way.
Powering potential with words
So how do you know if your writing hits the mark?
A good place to start is our tonal principles. These are the values we believe all communications for the University of Hertfordshire should convey.
Our tonal principles
|✅ We are always||⚠️ When appropriate we are||⛔️ We are never|
|Ambitious||Challenging (in a good way)||Passive|
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to memorise these off by heart. Instead we’ve created ten top tips you can follow when you’re writing. Whether you work in internal communications, marketing or any other area of the University, you have the power to make a difference through the words you use.
Ten tips to power your writing potential
By following these ten tips, your writing should naturally meet the tonal principles for Powering Potential.
Check the examples to see how powerful your writing is, from drained to fully charged. You should be able to see what you could do to give your writing more impact.
Quick check – does your writing Power Potential?
Before finishing a piece of work, check whether you have been:
|✅ Ambitious||avoided words ending with ion, ance, ence, or ment|
|✅ Energising||cut down long sentences|
|experimented with short sentences to add impact|
|✅ Collaborative||talked to the reader directly|
|used a balance of 'you' and 'we'|
|✅ Transformative||included benefits instead of listing features|
|✅ Approachable||measured the readability on Word|
|improved if readability score was above nine|
|✅ Confident||written clearly to communicate your message|
|banished the five varieties of waffle|
|added a call to action|
|✅ Challenging and empowering||used questions to challenge the reader|
|empowered the reader with questions if appropriate|
|✅ Irreverent||decided whether it is appropriate to be irreverent|
|used an irreverent tone to make headlines attention-grabbing|