Your English teacher didn’t do you any favors when she taught you to write with a formal writing style. Neither did mine.
Conversational English has become the language of business and it is definitely the language of the Internet.
In this post, I’ll explain what a conversational writing style is and list some of the benefits of using it. I’ll also give you a simple test that you can use to determine whether your own writing style is conversational.
Description of a Conversational Writing Style
What is a conversational writing style? Having a conversational writing style means that you write the way that you would speak (even if that means stretching or breaking a few rules of grammar).
If you want to write something that’s actually going to be read, use a conversational writing style. (If you’re creating a legal document or still in school, however, a more formal style is probably okay.)
Advantages of Writing with a Conversational Style
Here are some of the advantages of using a conversational style of writing:
- Builds an immediate rapport with your audience. A conversational style makes it easier for your readers to relate to you as an actual person.
- Seems more credible to most readers. If you’re using a conversational style, you are more likely to be writing in your own natural voice and your writing will seem less strained.
- Easier to understand. Conversational English is easier for most readers to understand. For that reason, a conversational style conveys your message better.
If you think about what you’ve enjoyed reading recently, chances are it was written in a conversational style rather than a formal style.
If you don’t believe me, when was the last time that you read a legal document (or a tax return, for that matter) for fun? If you’re like me, the answer is probably…never. We read those documents because we have to, not because we enjoy it.
Sadly, most English teachers still teach students to write in a formal style. While I think that it’s important to understand the rules (so that you can break them), English teachers would be doing their students a real favor if they also encouraged students to develop an authentic conversational voice.
Do You Have a Conversational Writing Style?
One way to test your own writing to see how conversational it is by reading it aloud. If you feel awkward speaking what you’ve written, chances are you aren’t using a conversational writing style.
What other benefits of a conversational style can you think of? Which type of writing do you prefer to read? Which writing style do you use in your own writing.