Tips for Writing With a Positive Tone

Establishing the right tone in written communications can make the difference between a positive response and a hostile one. To help create a positive tone:

  • Avoid “I.” Instead use “you” as the subject of sentences to get the reader involved.
  • Use the reader’s name, if the correspondence is addressed to one person.
  • Replace negative words with positive ones. Instead of saying “Don’t hesitate to call me,” try “Feel free to call me.” Words with negative connotations include: delay, doubt, difficult, fail, problem. Words with positive connotations include: glad, improvement, service, happy, contribution.
  • Present ideas as possibilities, not as difficulties to be overcome.
  • Give your written communications the human touch; imagine that you are writing to your best friend.

Adapted from Powerful Business Writing: Say What You Mean, Get What You Want, Tom McKeown, Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1992.

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