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Chapter 5. Say It Right—Write It Right > Write the Way You Speak - Pg. 52

Say It Right--Write It Right 52 · Ask questions.Oral conversation isn't one sided. First, one person speaks, then the other com- ments or asks a question such as, "If we do that, how will it affect sales to the food chains?" Why not do this in your writing? By interjecting questions in your letter, you focus the reader's attention on specific points. For example, instead of writing "If you desire, we can incorporate additional applications in this software," write "What additional applications would you like to have incor- porated in this software?" This gives the reader a chance to reflect on your message in terms that are specific to his or her needs. · Personalize your letter.When we speak we use the pronouns I, we, and you all the time. They're part of the normal give and take of conversation. But when we write as representatives of our company we tend to use the passive voice. We rarely write "we," never write "I," and even avoid the straightforward "you." Instead we use such phrases as "It is assumed," "It is recommended," or sentences such as: "An investigation will be made and upon its completion a report will be furnished to your organization." Why not clearly state: "We're investigating the matter and when we obtain the information we'll let you know." Usually, when writing for an organization, there isn't too much opportunity to be personal and write "I." However, you should use "I" when you express feelings or thoughts that are your own. It's better to say "I'm sorry" or "I'm pleased" than "we're sorry" or "we're pleased." Team Builder