Write Like You Speak

Engage Your Audience and Build Your Credibility

Verbal communication is often considered the most advantageous form of communication because of non-verbal cues. From hand gestures to eye movement to the tone of your voice, you are able to achieve a higher level of engagement without saying a word.

How can writing compete with that?

Descriptive language and other tools can certainly make up for the absence of verbal cues – that’s why they exist! However, these tools are often overlooked in articles and exchanged with the dry, shriveled tones of formal language.

Here’s how you can provide the same level of engagement that verbal communication achieves with the written word.

Formal vs. Informal

First, it’s important to understand formal and informal writing. Informal writing is marked by casual, familiar language. It employs creativity and is chock full of originality. It turns sturdy, reliable crackers into a delightful cheese and wine party attended by such a diverse group of characters, you dare not blink for fear you might miss something.

Let’s take a look at a snippet of a formal pasty recipe:

Boil 1 cup of water. Add 1 cup of shortening. Stir; place in refrigerator to cool. Combine 3 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon of salt…

Sure, it’s straight to the point, but if you want to exert your credibility as the leading authority on pasty making, this isn’t going to make the cut. You’re nowhere in the piece! You need to invoke your personality into the piece with description, detail, and your own tips or insights to engage your audience.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil; for you newbies, that’s when it’s bubbling. Then turn down the heat, just a tad, and add 1 cup of shortening. Stir until it’s evenly melted and translucent. Place the shortening and water mixture in the fridge to cool for roughly 45 minutes. Let it develop a waxy sheet at the top; it doesn’t need to harden all the way, just so it’s cool enough to work with. Meanwhile, take 3 cups of flour and add 1 teaspoon of salt; mix it thoroughly…

How to Write Like You Speak

One tactic that will help you achieve a more conversational style: talk to yourself! It may sound odd, but everyone talks to themselves from time-to-time to problem solve and to develop new ideas. Interview yourself by using these 5 steps to incorporate a conversational tone in your articles:

  • Consider your method to record your conversation. If you’re a talker, use a voice recorder. If you are more comfortable with a writing implement (pen and paper, computer, etc.), use it.
     
  • Consider a topic and then imagine you’re having a discussion with someone. Before we launch into the discussion points, think about who this “someone” is and how much information they already know about your topic. You can use a persona or have a character in mind to help direct your discussion.
     
  • Consider your discussion points: the facts. In your own words, present the facts or the meat of the discussion. Be direct and be descriptive with every fact by providing your own insights in your own words.
     
  • Based on the persona or character you’re imagining, consider what questions they would ask or points of contention, as well as what will continue to hold their interest. Avoid editing yourself; let your thoughts move fluidly like you would in a 1:1 conversation. If you feel like relating a memory pertinent to the conversation or perhaps something reminds you of another facet of your niche, let it flow and keep recording or writing.
     
  • After your “interview” is over, review your results. Now you can trim anything that is superfluous or irrelevant and break up discernible themes that will stand alone in an article. Incorporate these results in your next set of articles!

Invoke yourself into your articles by using discussion as a tool – even if it’s a discussion with yourself! Discussion can unlock tons of ideas and help you create engaging articles to provide unique, one-of-a-kind insights to build your credibility and provide engaging content.

Do you use this technique to create engaging articles? Share your suggestions or questions in the comments section below!

24 Comments »


1
JoeTranscriber writes:

Great tips for a budding blogger like me. Will keep this in mind when writing articles for you EzineArticles and my site, of course.

Joseph

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM

[Reply]

2

Great Points! A lot of people think they are not good writers. Writing is not about using big fancy words. Be yourself, write like you are telling a story to a friend and you will ultimately create content that will engage your audience.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 9:58 AM

[Reply]

3
Edmund Sykes writes:

This is another excellent article, thanks Penny. I sometimes wonder if I am being too formal in my writing but the more technical the subject the less room for the chatty style. If you want to discuss FDA / DHS / Customs regulations over imports to the USA it may well be better to stick to the facts because the article will be so long anyway that the personalization may lose readers through sheer length. Edmund

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 10:01 AM

[Reply]

4
A.J.Wilson writes:

Hello Penny,

You make it sound so very simple.
And it is simple the way you put it across.

Thanks so much.

Austin.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 10:01 AM

[Reply]

5
Online Jobs writes:

Great tips for bloggers and article writers. Thanks Penny!

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

[Reply]

6
Sarah Lawton writes:

Interesting post. I am not a natural writer and find it increasingly hard to write for the web. Any hints and tips I can learn from are always appreciated.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 1:19 PM

[Reply]

7
Stan Rosen writes:

Excellent Suggestion, Penny.
Now the talking to myself serves a good purpose, I won’t think it sounds so silly.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 3:09 PM

[Reply]

8

thank you Penny for the great article ,it look like to do easy i will try to do it

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 4:13 PM

[Reply]

9
kay mistretta writes:

Great post and good tip. I recently had to go back into the memory bank and remember that one. Not too long ago I had to write a new article. It had been so long since I put anything on paper I almost thought I forgot how, but as I started writing I was talking to myself and wrote it from words of the heart.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM

[Reply]

10
Andrej writes:

Thanks for this post. Personal informal writing works for me. I want to have a personal relationship with my reader. When I write articles I imagine like I am writing them to my best friend.

Comment provided July 31, 2012 at 6:16 PM

[Reply]

11
Vijay Mishra writes:

Very intrusting post for every person who is writer and speaker “How to Write Like You Speak” this point is very help full so read carefully of this topic.

Comment provided August 1, 2012 at 12:51 AM

[Reply]

12

Thanks for the great advice! I sometimes get so wrapped up in trying to sound like an authority, so people will take my article seriously, that I forget to be myself.

Comment provided August 1, 2012 at 12:57 AM

[Reply]

13
Paul writes:

I use an old but reliable Dragon Speak program that writes what I say.This helps me to easily express myself in a casual tone that sounds so much better than a textbook authority way of writing,which sounds cold and sometimes boring.
Great article here and I hope to read more of your work. Lee

Comment provided August 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

[Reply]

14
Sonia writes:

Stan: It’s not silly to talk to yourself. That’s the only intelligent conversation some folks ever get!

Penny: Thank you for clearing up the differences in formal and informal writing. I’ve not always been sure whether putting myself into an article would be seen as self-promoting, and sometimes wonder how to “be present” in the article without using “I” and “me.”

Comment provided August 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM

[Reply]

15
Samuel Metz writes:

I am planning on using software where I talk and the computer writes for me. I never was good at typing and with age my ability is getting worse.

My question is does it work or is it more “hassle than benefit”.? It would certainly give my writing much more of a conversational tone…

Maybe I will not take two weeks full time to write an article.

Comment provided August 1, 2012 at 3:57 PM

[Reply]

Randall Magwood writes:

My guess is that a solution that you’re looking for is something called “Dragon Naturally Speaking Software”… a software that types what you speak.

It’s a nifty software, and is something that you should consider using — unless you have already checked it out.

[Reply]

Adam writes:

Windows 7 has some built in software for speech recognition which you can try before buying additional software – assuming you already have windows 7!

This isn’t as good as Dragon but will help you determine if its something worth considering. Ideally will need a headset as this improves accuracy.

[Reply]

16
Madinah D. C. writes:

Thanks for sharing these great tips.

Comment provided August 2, 2012 at 3:07 AM

[Reply]

17
Chitralekha Shalom writes:

Thanks for the useful tips.

Comment provided August 2, 2012 at 6:27 AM

[Reply]

18
Samuel Metz writes:

Thanks for remembering the name of the software Randall Magwood. I bought the program some 5 years ago when I wanted to get involved in writing a blog.

I had a lot of problems with the software. Most of it was due to my habit of not reading the instructions. I have seen so many programs, i think it is always easy to get them going.

Just as my Mama said, “Always read the instructions first. It will save you time and frustrations.

Comment provided August 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM

[Reply]

19
Grace Nyoike writes:

These are wonderful tips. I will try them on my article and hope for the best.

Comment provided August 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM

[Reply]

20
priyajit singh writes:

Great tips, very useful to me… Thanks for sharing…

Comment provided August 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

[Reply]

21
Bob Young writes:

Good advice but hard for those of us that learned old school. It takes practice as you suggest and we must constantly remind ourselves to loosen up and write with more abandon.

Comment provided August 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM

[Reply]

22
abiyeler writes:

excellent thanks

Comment provided October 28, 2012 at 5:02 PM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.