Tone of voice

The way we use the words we choose (whether written or spoken) plays a big part in convincing people of who we are – from the moment they visit our website, watch a video, open an email or encounter a presentation.

To ensure all our communications are effective and impactful, the University needs a strong verbal identity alongside it’s visual one. Our Tone of Voice Guidance has been developed to create this, to help guarantee all internal and external communication captures what makes the University of Hertfordshire so unique.  It is important that through the way we write and speak, the University’s values and personality are conveyed in a consistent way.

Powering potential with words

So how do you know if your writing hits the mark?

A good place to start is our tonal principles. These are the values we believe all communications for the University of Hertfordshire should convey.

Our tonal principles

✅ We are always⚠️ When appropriate we are⛔️ We are never
AmbitiousChallenging (in a good way)Passive
EnergisingIrreverentUnsure
Collaborative  
Transformative  
Empowering  
Approachable  
Confident  

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to memorise these off by heart. Instead we’ve created ten top tips you can follow when you’re writing. Whether you work in internal communications, marketing or any other area of the University, you have the power to make a difference through the words you use.

Ten tips to power your writing potential

By following these ten tips, your writing should naturally meet the tonal principles for Powering Potential.

Check the examples to see how powerful your writing is, from drained to fully charged. You should be able to see what you could do to give your writing more impact.

Checklist

Quick check – does your writing Power Potential?

Before finishing a piece of work, check whether you have been:

✅ Ambitiousavoided words ending with ion, ance, ence, or ment
✅ Energisingcut down long sentences
experimented with short sentences to add impact
✅ Collaborativetalked to the reader directly
used a balance of 'you' and 'we'
✅ Transformativeincluded benefits instead of listing features
✅ Approachablemeasured the readability on Word
improved if readability score was above nine
✅ Confidentwritten clearly to communicate your message
banished the five varieties of waffle
added a call to action
✅ Challenging and empoweringused questions to challenge the reader
empowered the reader with questions if appropriate
✅ Irreverentdecided whether it is appropriate to be irreverent
used an irreverent tone to make headlines attention-grabbing

Related Guidance

Get in touch

If you have any questions please contact a member of the team:

ContactEmail
Media and PR team, Marketing and Communicationsnews@herts.ac.uk
Daisy Way, Media and PR Manager (she/her)d.way@herts.ac.uk
Marketing and Communications Business Supportmarketinguh@herts.ac.uk