This is a guide to how inploi communicates with people - both within our community and beyond it. For it to be most effective, it is important that you have a firm grasp of our story, our mission and our values. This guide’s sister document - inploi: What, Why, and How? is essential reading too, in order to fully understand what we do, why we do it, and how we deliver our services!
A ‘tone of voice’? 🤨
Companies may not be living things, but they do feel alive! Think of a company as a person. Branding is its face, and its communications give it a voice. The tone of that voice is what gives it a personality! It’s very important to us that inploi’s voice is consistent with our values and the company’s mission, and that our tone accurately conveys the personality of our company, and the people who work within it.
We hope you’ll find this a useful resource if you are working with the company as a team member, partner, journalist, blogger, or in any other capacity. If you’re an employer or candidate, it’ll also be a handy resource if you’re wondering how we see things, and how we seek to represent you and your sector.
It is all important!❗
Every piece of content that is written, every email sent, every advert published, every phone call made, each push notification or text message delivered gives us the chance to make a connection with someone, and is an opportunity to give them a sense of who we are. These contact points, however small or fleeting, accumulate to give inploi its personality, and serve to mould the way that people perceive us. If we get it wrong - if we confuse, bore, annoy or disappoint them, then we start to lose their interest, and more importantly, their trust. inploi exists to make the lives of our users easier, helping them to make decisions about some of the most important aspects of their businesses and their careers. We think that candidates and employers in the spaces we operate in have been neglected by technological innovation, and that the digital services that have been available to them are not good enough. inploi offers a different path, and every word we write is an opportunity to travel a little further on that journey!
If you ever think we’re falling short of our ideals, please get in touch and let us know. We won’t always get it right, but we rely on you to guide us when we don’t. ❤️
The inploi tone
It would be impossible (and kind of freaky) for us to have a list of approved words/phrases to use in our communications, and obviously different situations call for different approaches. Nevertheless, when thinking about how to write, here are a few principles you can lean on to guide you.
As a starting point, imagine yourself in the position of the people you’re speaking with. Where are they coming from, what are their feelings, hopes, fears, dreams, wants, and needs? Empathy is essential to building trusting, meaningful relationships. Then start to write. Be informal, polite, and always professional. Pay careful attention to your grammar, punctuation and spelling! If in doubt, read what you have written out aloud. Does it sound friendly and human? Yes? Great! Fire away. 🚀
Remember that not everybody will have the same level of understanding of certain things as you do. If you are reading this, you are probably very good at what you do, and have a high degree of domain-specific knowledge and expertise. That normally comes with a whole bunch of jargon and words used in particular ways that may not be familiar to people who do not have the same level of understanding. Remember to KIS everything - KEEP IT SIMPLE - and you’ll be just fine.
Pay attention to your writing style! Always seek to catch the interest of your readers and hold their attention, even when the subject you’re writing about is not that exciting... What you write is obviously really important, but how you write it is also super important too. The author Gary Provost has some great advice illustrating this:
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
What to say?🤔
Producing content that reflects our values
Okay! So by now you should have a good idea of how inploi approaches communications. But what should you say? Well, the answer (perhaps unhelpfully), is that it depends on what the subject matter is, and on what you think is best. We haven’t got a bank of ‘approved communications content’ and if you’re working on or with inploi then you’re already an independent thinker. So run with that freedom (within the guidelines of this document). All of our communications should read and feel like they have come from people with the same values, but not from exactly the same person! Here are few things that we hold to be true which are important to take on board:
We believe in fairness, accessibility, and equality of opportunity.
Everybody has something to offer and is important, whatever their status or their pay grade. Make them feel valued, and valuable.
Keep users informed, and be honest. People are smart, they will understand.
We are a team, working to build a community.
Everything we do is made possible by the work and contributions of others. “We” is generally more applicable than “I”.
We do what we do to help people. If we genuinely achieve that, everything else will follow.
No question is stupid - if somebody doesn’t understand something, we did not make it clear enough.
We are accountable and take responsibility.
We are a young company - the underdog - and yet we are the best...
...but we are never arrogant!
It is noble to have a job, whatever it may be.
Our users deserve the best (service, technology, design and everything in between).
By a hedgehog?! 🦔
Pay attention to whether you are writing in the ‘active’ or the ‘passive’ voice. The passive voice is distant and matter of fact; the active voice is personal and takes responsibility. The passive sounds like a robot might be saying it, the active sounds like a person with a heart is saying it. Here’s an example:
“The system automatically billed your account. This has been flagged with the tech team to be resolved.” (Passive)
“I’m afraid we accidentally charged you for this month. I am on the case and will reverse this as soon as possible.” (Active)
If in doubt, add “by a hedgehog” to the end of the sentence. If it works, its passive.
“The system automatically billed your account by mistake. This has been flagged with the tech team to be resolved. By a hedgehog.’ Yeah, that works. ❌
“I’m afraid we accidentally charged you for this month. I am on the case and will reverse this as soon as possible. By a hedgehog.” Nope, that doesn’t fit! ✅
This isn’t a hard rule, and sometimes the passive is appropriate. Generally it won’t be though.
If used correctly emojis can be a great way to communicate and bring a sentence to life. Here’s an example of how to use emojis when communicate with our audience:
“I’m afraid your 🖥️is 💥, which is a real 😢.” Um… ❌
“It is really great to have you in the inploi community. We’re excited to be working together! 😀” Yes, I’m excited too! ✅
Ok, got it! But hang on, what is inploi?😲
Ah yes, well understanding that is important too! Hopefully you’ve got a pretty solid grasp of this already, but it may be helpful to refresh your memory. Head over to our inploi: What, Why, and How? guide for more information!
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