Do You Lose Your Voice When You Write?


I am not suggesting that you suffer from a strange side effect of writer’s block.  I am referring to our tendency to lose our brand identity when we write books, speeches, promotional collateral, opt-in products, website copy, etc.  Have you ever read some of your own content months or years later and thought it does not even sound like you?  Have you watched one of your keynote presentations and wondered why it did not feel authentic? Have you reviewed your website copy lately and thought, “Is this really me?”

Just for fun, let’s call this phenomenon Writer’s Laryngitis (WL).  We will define it as a condition resulting from authors or speakers deviating from their brand, their rhythm, and their personality because they are trying too hard to accommodate their perceptions of their audience.

Are you addressing industry mavens and CEOs and instead of being your clever and engaging self, you end up delivering a stoic and lifeless presentation?  What if the demographics of your readers are predominantly male or female, do you get too in touch with your masculine or feminine side in an attempt to establish rapport when in fact your disingenuous tone turns people off?

These may seem like dramatic examples, but on a much smaller scale this happens more often than you realize.

Mild to Severe WL-like symptoms:

  • You find yourself stuck trying to write about content you coach everyday, or you try to mimic expressions and concepts that do not come easily to you.
  • You stumble for just the right words to explain your own services and products.
  • When you receive your own Opt-In product emails each day, are you unable to see your reflection in them?
  • Your personality resembles slacks and a nice sweater but your correspondence wears a three-piece suit
  • When listening to your own recorded tele-seminar script you sound more rehearsed than the conversational tone of your in-person consultations
  • A new client or colleague tells you that based on your previous correspondence and content, you “seem different” in person

In-Home Remedies:

  • The next time you talk with a potential new client on the phone, record yourself on a digital recorder.  Are you explaining your services the same way in print?  Chances are your audio explanation was more engaging and persuasive.
  • Put your promotional collateral and sales letters side-by-side with your web copy and see if they are consistent in tone and messaging
  • Read your manuscript chapters aloud to yourself. If the words do not flow easily for you, then simplify and replace it with your everyday diction

Professional Treatment:

You may have a more severe condition of WL (or lack the time to cure yourself) and I recommend you seek the advice of a second set of eyes.  Chances are you are too close to your own condition and self medicating may not be the answer.  Work with a collaborative writer or editor to help you with the consistency and tone of your messages.  After only a couple of consultations and reviewing your existing content, a writer specializing in voice duplication can create impressions of you on paper.

Here’s to getting better soon!

8 Responses to “Do You Lose Your Voice When You Write?”

  1. 1 Shirley

    I always enjoy reading your thoughts and helpful messages. This article sounds like you, so you have accomplished what you have written in advice to others.

  2. 2 Mary Marcdante

    As always, great insights and tips from you, Christine. I have definitely had Writer’s Laryngitis, especially when I started writing my first book My Mother, My Friend, and more recently, in shifting from writing memoir/self-help prescriptive books to conversational Web 2.0 blogs, Facebook and Twitter comments. I agree, master editors like you have been the best doctors in helping me heal WL. Thanks!

  3. 3 AmyK

    What a chameleon life we tend to lead! Coming from a sweater and slacks wearing existence, the more I stay true to my personality and style of verbal expression the more I maintain my writer/speaker joie de vive. Christine, once again you provide great tips on maintaining an authentic and consistent brand.

  4. 4 Melissa Tritt

    Thank you for the WL tips and strategies. I have been regularly speaking in front of audiences for the past 7 years, and about a year ago I got some feedback that the true Melissa is getting lost when I speak to more introverted scientific and engineering audiences. It was excellent (and accurate) feedback and I have to say that it was freeing to be my true self in front of these audiences and not worry so much about if I was “too much” for them. Thank you for the tips and reminders, I think I’m going to record myself again soon to make sure I’m still coming out in my presentations!

  5. 5 Mike Siete Cinco

    That balance between staying true to your unique voice and still appealing to the reader is a line that I’m so desperately trying to walk. I def lean towards sticking with my own voice—it’s time for me to find that balance, and similar to what you always do, provide incredible value for the reader.

  6. 6 Torrie Dunlap

    Thanks for this, Christine. I found it very helpful. I am working on creating general session/keynote presentations when I have always been a workshop-style trainer…I want to keep the fun, inviting, warm feeling of my training and translate that to a keynote platform. You’ve given me a lot to think about!

  7. 7 Vincent Hall

    A mate encoraged me to read this site, brill post, fascinating read… keep up the nice work!

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