About Us


Professional Development

Knowledge Hub




Coronavirus Guidance

Industry News

Although there are more professional communicators than ever before, too much business communication is filled with jargon and Orwellian newspeak. Former IoIC chairman Paul Brasington argues that organisations need to think much harder about tone of voice – and has produced a 34-page guide to help.

As humans we change our tone of voice all the time. Most of us instinctively know when to be sympathetic, forceful, humorous or whatever depending on who we’re talking to and the situation we’re in.

Too many businesses don’t do that. Even if tone of voice is mentioned in any brand toolkit, Paul (pictured) says the guidelines are “typically useless”

“If businesses don’t learn to communicate in a human voice, they won’t be engaging,” he explains. “Good guidelines will include stuff like avoiding the passive voice, thinking in your customer’s head rather than your own. But people do it surprisingly rarely…

“I’ve tried to address the problem by thinking about tone of voice, which means thinking about meaning as well as style and it’s that bit that gets left out of tone of voice guidelines.

“Those guidelines should focus as much on what you say about the organisation as how you say it. If you can frame a good core narrative for your organisation, frame it so it’s memorable and real, this will do far more for the way you’re perceived than any tricks or tropes of your language.

“Indeed, the fact that people could tell a corporate story in their own words would be a benchmark for success.

Paul has identified five tones of voice, which he describes as building blocks.

“They could all be used in the same organisation at different times for different things, and there will be further tones that are overlaps between these – they represent a spectrum,” he explains.

IoIC members can find out more about the five tones of voice in November's InsideOut or by downloading Paul's 34-page report for FREE from the 'Research' section of this website by clicking here
  • 25th September 2020
    Over 380 internal communication professionals joined online on Friday 25th September for our first-ever virtual awards ceremony to celebrate the winners of the IoIC National Awards 2020. Our...
  • 8th September 2020
        It’s increasingly hard to find words to describe the events of 2020 so far. Suffice to say, few of us could possibly have imagined the world we find ourselves in today. Back in...
  • 28th July 2020
    You are cordially invited to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Institute of Internal Communication which will be held on Thursday 10 September at 1pm by Zoom.  This will...
Our Sponsors

Room Booking

Thanks for staying with us! Please fill out the form below and our staff will be in contact with your shortly. The see all of our room options please visit the link below.
See All Rooms