In business, the tone of your message is fundamental; however, many people still wonder why an active voice is generally preferable for business messages? You want to be authoritative and in control, but you also don’t want to sound stiff or unapproachable. One way to make sure your tone is perfect is to use an active voice instead of a passive voice. Let’s look at a few reasons why that’s generally the best choice for business communications.
What Is A Business Message?
A business message is a communication from one business to another. It can be in an email, letter, or even a phone call. A business message aims to convey information that will help the recipient decide or take action.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to use a formal tone in your business messages. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly, but you should always err on the side of professionalism.
What Is Active Voice?
With an active voice, the subject of the sentence is acting. This is in contrast to passive voice, where the subject is being acted upon.
Active voice is generally preferable for business messages because it is more direct and concise. It can also make your message sound more assertive, which can be helpful when you need to get the point across.
Here are a few examples of active voice:
- We completed the project on time.
- I am attaching the report you requested.
- The shipment will arrive tomorrow.
While there are many different ways to write a business message, an active voice is generally preferable. Active voice is when the subject of the sentence acts. For example, “I am writing to inform you that our company will be making some changes.” “I” is the subject in this sentence, and “am writing” is the action.
What Is Passive Voice?
Passive voice is when the subject of the sentence is acted upon. For example, “You will be informed by me that our company will be making some changes.” “You” is the subject in this sentence, and “will be informed” is the action. The main difference between active and passive voice is who is doing the verb.
And here are some examples of passive voice:
- The project was completed on time.
- The report you requested is attached.
- Tomorrow, the shipment will arrive.
Passive voice is often seen as weaker or less assertive than active voice. It can also make your writing sound indirect and wordy. Therefore, it is generally best to avoid passive voice in business messages.
Why Is Active Voice Generally Preferable For Business Messages?
There are several reasons why an active voice is generally preferable for business messages. First, an active voice is more direct and easier to understand. When a message is written in an active voice, the reader knows who is doing what and why. This can help avoid confusion and ensure that the message is clear.
Second, an active voice tends to be more concise. There is no need to include unnecessary information about the subject or the action. For example, there is no need to specify that “I” am a person or that “am writing” is an action in the sentence above. This can help save time and space, which is essential in business communication.
Finally, an active voice can be more persuasive. This is because it can create a sense of urgency and importance. When a message is written in active voice, the reader knows that the subject is taking action and that the message is essential. This can help convince the reader to take the desired action.
When Should I Use Active Voice?
There are some situations where an active voice is not the best choice. For example, if you are writing a message that is supposed to be neutral or objective, an active voice may not be the best choice. In these cases, you may want to consider using a passive voice.
Some of the situations where you should be using active voice rather than passive are:
- When writing an objective letter
- You want to sound assertive and get the point across
- When you need to direct, persuade and make your reader take action
- You want to be concise and save time and space
- When you want to sound more important or urgent
When To Use Passive Voice?
There are a few situations where passive voice may be preferred over active voice. For example, passive voice may be the best choice if you write a message that is supposed to be neutral or objective. This is because passive voice can create a distance between the subject and the action. This can be helpful if you want to avoid sounding too assertive or pushy.
Another situation where passive voice may be preferred is when the subject of the sentence is unknown. For example, “The report was sent to the client.” We do not know who sent the report in this sentence, so passive voice is used. This can be helpful if you want to avoid sounding too personal or biased.
Passive voice can also be helpful in situations where active voice might be confusing. For example, “The project was completed by the team.” This sentence clearly shows that the team completed the project, even though we do not know who specifically did the work. Again, this can be helpful if you want to avoid sounding too technical or complicated.
The Bottom Line
In business, the tone of your message is essential. You want to be engaging and exciting while also coming across as authoritative. Active voice accomplishes this better than passive voice, making your readers feel like they are being talked down to or that you are not confident in what you’re saying.
For most business messages, an active voice is preferable – but there are a few exceptions. For example, passive voice may be more appropriate when writing highly technical material or legal documents. But for the majority of cases, using an active voice will help you come across as more credible and engaging to your audience. Have you tried using active voice in your business communications? What results did you see?
Generally speaking, an active voice is the best choice for business messages. Active voice is more direct, concise, and persuasive. It can also help avoid confusion and ensure that the message is clear. If you are unsure about which voice to use, always err on the side of professionalism.