Tone of voice

An overview of how we write—between ourselves, to our audience and to our clients.

Our words matter. The language we use and how we speak about ourselves, our clients and our industry is, together with the work we do, our most important way of getting across our values.

We have a duty to our clients, and our industry as a whole, to ensure that we are not confusing or frustrating people with what we say—it’s in all of our interests to make sure we stay trustworthy and clear, especially when we’re dealing with technical matters.

Tone of voice overview

We’re relaxed, professional and transparent. The language we use should reflect that.

Tone of voice is an important part of any brand. It reflects who we are and how we work in ways colours, fonts and logos can only suggest. Because of this, what we say and how we say it is perhaps the most valuable part of our brand, so we each have more responsibility over how we come across.

MintTwist is an inclusive place for both employees and our clients. We should always be mindful of how well we’re being understood by our peers and clients. We don’t all have the same expertise and talents. If our goal is to always be clear and open, as well as inclusive, we must remember to not use language that alienates anybody, both internally and externally.

Above all, we are friendly and forgiving, and we’re only human so mistakes will happen. Never be afraid to be yourself. Taking responsibility for MintTwist’s tone of voice, and overall brand, should be fun and engaging, never a chore.

Avoiding jargon

MintTwist rarely has a need to use formal language.

Our tone of voice is on the relaxed side of professional because we are relaxed professionals. Most of our clients are, too, so we should strive to maintain that in our conversations with them.

Pointless jargon, techspeak and formal words and phrases counter this, so avoiding them is super important.

Too formal Try instead
Assistance Help
Roadmap Plan
Commence Start
Enable Let
Ensure Make sure
However But
In order to To
Query Question
Resolve Fix
Utilize/utilise Use

When talking about technical things to our clients, remember to explain the meanings behind any technical things you say. This can be anything from day-to-day acronyms we’re used to saying to details about servers and the software we use. A client might not understand about servers or programming languages or FTP or HTTPS, so if we want to be fully understood we should always bear that in mind.

Remember our no bullshit mantra: we aim to work and speak in a way that makes everything completely clear and free from bullshit.

Being inclusive

We should strive to be welcoming to everyone, and that means we’re open, transparent and inclusive.

We take pride in our inclusiveness. You will be afforded the same respect and compassion no matter who you are. There is absolutely no place for racism, homophobia, sexism or anything derogatory, but it’s about more than that.

For example, it’s pretty common to address a group of people as guys, even if there are women in the group — but we think hi all or hey everyone is more inclusive. It’s as much about being inclusive as it is about avoiding causing offence.

As with everything else in this guide, if you’re being thoughtful and compassionate then you won’t go wrong.

Being transparent

Always be clear about who’s doing what

Our clients expect us to be transparent as standard. So when we write about processes, or give bad news, it’s important we don’t slip into a passive voice. Speaking in a passive voice absolves us of responsibility. Consider the difference between these two sentences:

This will be fixed in the next update

That’s passive voice, and it’s not great for a client to read, because:

  • It looks like you’re avoiding responsibility. We decided to do it, so it’s only fair that we own the decision. Without owning the responsibility, we aren’t accountable for it, which is not how we want to come across to our clients
  • It’s ambiguous. Nobody is claiming responsibility for the decision. A client may read it and not know whose responsibility it is, which creates a problem for them that doesn’t need to exist

And now the same sentence but in an active voice:

We’ll fix this in the next update

See the difference? By saying we’ll fix it—as opposed to it will be fixed—we’re taking responsibility for the task at hand, removing any ambiguity.

You can also take responsibility for it yourself if you’ve made the decision, so you can replace ‘we’ with ‘I’.