P2PU voice and tone guidelines

Here are some guidelines that we drafted a number of years ago. We still use these when we develop our own communication strategies for learning circles! Is there anything else you’d add?

  • Smart but not stuffy. We’re informed, but accessible. A shared understanding is more important than looking smart. Avoid jargon, stiff or bloated language.
  • Quirky but not offensive. Be charming. We aim to be memorable enough that you tell your friends, but not so much that it scares you away.
  • Excited but not salesy. Use your sense of excitement. Bold statements are OK. In learning new things, people will go to great lengths to avoid humiliation, so make sure you’re making people feel at ease, engaged, and occasionally delighted.
  • Casual but not sloppy. A casual tone reinforces our peer learning model. We’re all at the same level–there’s no need for formality. That being said, be concise and use proper punctuation.
  • Massive but not a mob. When possible, use the 2nd person plural (we) and active voice. We’re storytellers and real people–point toward the experience of community members before the theory or idea behind it.
  • Participatory but not perfect. We’re inviting, and anyone can get involved who wants to. Be mindful of your references–we’re an international organization with diverse backgrounds. Too many US-centric references will not get your message across.
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