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How style isn't just for fashionistas?
Imagine you're high above a business event commanding a birds eye view of all the delegates.

Without hearing any words you instantly identify different 'types' of business people by their attire, body language and facial expressions.

There's the 'full on', expansive, gift of the gab types, the quiet, shy retiring types, the thoughtful types, the watchers, the clowns and the ones who don't have homes to go to at the end. What tells you all this about them? Their actions, body language, dress, facial expressions - their style tells you everything you need to know.

When we meet people, we make judgements about them. You instantly sum up what kind of person you're dealing with. We do business with people we like, people we trust. People like us.

What is your writing style?
Your style comes from the words you choose, the order you put them in and the emotions you incite in the reader.

How do you develop your style?
Your business writing style should reflect you and your reader.

If you want to engage customers, your writing style needs to make them feel comfortable but remain true to your business style and ethos. When a politician uses words that don't fit with her personality we know the speech writers have gone off track.

Good writing style comes from saying what you want to say, plainly, simply, in an orderly fashion and with sincerity. Practice will help you develop a good writing style.

You still have to go through the hard graft of deciding who you're audience is, what you're objective is, what outcome you want and what are the most pressing concerns for your reader. Your writing style comes into play when you think about how to say these things.

Capture your natural speaking style
If you find writing difficult, a good tip is to capture your natural speaking style. You do this, by sitting down with a friend or colleague and telling them about the new product, service or promotion and record the conversation. Your natural enthusiasm will come through. Once you've taken out the ums and aaahs and tidied up the structure you should have an engaging piece of writing.

How do you combine your style with tried and tested copywriting techniques?
Incorporate techniques like a call to action but write them in the same style as the rest of the copy. The test. How would your business ask people to get in touch?
Give me a call.
Contact the company on ..

Quick Style Tips

Say it plainly - don't use 15 words where 8 will do - compare:
We endeavour to provide you with the best quality service at all times.
Excellent service is our top priority

Say it simply - compare:
a) Many people enjoy a day out at our visitor attraction, in fact it often gets voted top in polls of various sorts, just recently we won another award
b) Voted top Family Day Out in Wales 2010 by readers of ..

Say it in an orderly fashion - compare:
a) This project is about inspiring you to be innovative in how you approach all aspects of your business from customer service to marketing, from pricing to promotions.
b) Inspiring innovation in:
market research
product development
customer service

Say it with sincerity - compare:
a) We endeavour to make your stay a pleasant one and we're sure you'll find plenty of things to do in the area.
b) We feel so blessed to live in this beautiful corner of the UK and we read our guests' comments regularly so we can keep adding little touches to make it even better.

Can you create a style?
Copywriters do this all the time. When they look at the tone for a piece of copy they want to find a match between the tone or style of the target audience and the business. As with so many things, fashion plays a part. Informality has been encouraged: by email, texts and Twitter updates.

A company like Innocent Smoothies created a voice that was child like, irreverent, quirky and fun. This was innovative. However simply adopting that sort of tone for your business because you make delicious organic ready meals, is not necessarily a good idea.

First imitation is never as powerful as innovation and secondly if you are a rather quiet, serious person then customers will be disquieted by the inconsistency when they meet you.

If you want your staff to jump around in carrot costumes and talk in an excited and breathy manner, then by all means go ahead and convince them this is good for them and good for business. Once you've got them on board, go for it, adopt that breathy style in all your writing.

You get my point here.

It has to be authentic.

A word loved by brand consultants and marketers. So difficult for large corporations but so easy for you the solo entrepreneur or small business. All you have to do is bring your passion, pride and drive to your writing.

Why does style matter
If writing plays a big part in your business, and let's face it, the written word is still key queen bee in the sales department - then developing a style that is true to your business personality is time well spent. What's more, it's fun.

Practical tips to develop your writing style
Read your writing out loud. It's much easier to spot the clunky sentences, the unfinished ones, the overstuffed ones and the over formal ones.

Start to notice good writing, on websites, on leaflets, in emails. We all learn by imitation, think of how a baby learns to talk. That's not to say you should copy and paste whole chunks of text but rather take note of how sentences begin and end. How paragraphs are linked and how you feel after reading good copy.

The more you read, being conscious of how the words are put together, the more those forms and techniques will influence your writing.

As your confidence in business grows, you will develop a writing style that reflects that confidence. The two go hand in hand.

So become a wordista, develop your style and write with pride.
Contributor: Juliet Fay @

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