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Adapting Your Style

September 22, 2011 by asteffann

It’s natural to feel frustrated when bosses and professors ask you to write in a way that doesn’t feel natural to you.  Many students argue that, if everyone their age talks a certain way, it’s fake to have to change their speaking and writing style to be more formal, just to suit the expectations of people at school and in the workplace.  The reality is, however, that how you communicate at school and in the workplace can affect how people view your potential to excel.

When I was a young professional in the early nineties (just starting out) I had to work really hard to get ride of the “valley girl” speak discussed in this brief article I found on CNN.  Like the woman who is the subject of the article, I constantly said “like” and ended some of my sentences on “up” notes, making it sound like I was both young and unsure of myself.

Writing in an overly colloquial style can create similar problems in the workplace and in your classes.  As a result, I try to stress to all my students that their conversational ways are not wrong – the are just not appropriate for academic and business writing!

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