Our tone of voice examples


Consider what the function of the text is and where it is to be used. There are two main types of communication:

 

Head

This type of writing is clear, concise and factual.
Examples: First aid advice, training brochures, powerpoint presentations, information booklets.

 

Heart

This type of writing involves and influences the audience. It tells more of a story and has a more emotional tone. Examples: advertising, campaigns, volunteer and fundraising leaflets, posters.

 

Head

Instead of…

‘St John Ambulance teaches people first aid – about 400,000 last year alone – so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’

 

...you could say

‘First aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. It’s easy to learn and every year 400,000 people learn how to do it thanks to us, including hundreds of thousands of young people.’

 

The second sounds more natural – more like something someone would say. It makes more of a direct appeal to the reader, rather than simply stating the facts.

 

Heart

Instead of…

‘Thousands of the people we trained went on to offer their skills and time to be the difference right in the heart of their community, as St John Ambulance volunteers – to provide first aid at public events, to be Community First Responders who attend emergency calls and provide care until the ambulance arrives, to provide patient transport, or as back up to local ambulance services during local major emergencies.’

 

… you could say

‘Our volunteers provide first aid in their communities, keeping people safe at events, and working with the NHS when lives are on the line. They all share the same commitment: to offer vital help, on the spot, when it’s most desperately needed.’

 

The second is easier to understand – it gets to the point quickly, and makes an emotional appeal. One reason the first is more difficult to read is because it’s one long sentence with many different messages, some of which are quite technical. It’s ‘head’ not ‘heart’.

 

Heart

 

Instead of…
‘Our introduction to volunteering provides information about what our volunteers do and will help you decide if you want to join our team. You can also find out what areas have open general recruitment. Renowned for providing trained first aiders at events, there are plenty of other roles you may be interested in.’

 

… you could say

‘Imagine how it would feel to be part of a team that saves lives. If you volunteer with us we’ll train you to be a life saver in your community, whether you’re on the ground at events or working in other important roles. We’re always looking for more volunteers so, if you’re interested, take a look at our volunteering guide.’

 

The second version involves the reader emotionally, before giving them the recruiting message (ie. ‘heart’ first, then ‘head’). The first one sounds written rather than spoken, especially the way the second sentence begins with ‘Renowned for providing…’

 

We also have key messages and set text for different areas of our work, and a guide to our house style.

 

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