UM-Flint Voice and Tone Considerations

There can be a tendency within academia to want to “sound smart.” But for users who simply want to find, understand, and act on information, that is unwise. Users think it is smart to put their needs first, write in plain language, and where appropriate, show some personality that lets them know there are real people behind the words.

UM-Flint web writers should strive for:
  • Clarity (to the point)
  • Simplicity (“let go of the words”)
  • Positivity (friendly; positive action; “doing” verbs)
  • Conversational tone (approachability)
  • Confidence (not boastfulness)

The following examples are derived from U-M Ann Arbor’s new editorial guide. They show the difference in tone that arises from putting the emphasis on our users vs. ourselves:

Too UM-Flint Centric

  • Our faculty features…
  • We are global leaders… 
  • The University of Michigan-Flint boasts…

More Audience Focused

  • You’ll enjoy…
  • Are you ready for…
  • Students will be inspired to…