What is tone of voice?
Tone of voice is the way we speak to users of the site. It’s in the words we use across the site – every paragraph, heading and interaction. It’s anywhere and everywhere.
MindWell has one voice that runs through all its content – reflecting its aims and target audiences. But every person who visits the site is different. They will have their own needs, which means our voice must take on different tones in different contexts.
Tone of voice is always informed by the site’s core strategy statement.
Our voice and 7 values
We chose 7 values to describe the way we want to talk to our audience. These were created in a series of workshops with people involved in mental health services in Leeds (including people working in services and members of the public) held in January 2016.
We’ve created examples for each of the values.
Helpful, warm, informal and down-to-earth without being too casual
We support local people to find the right mental health support and guidance. We don’t want to put up any barriers so we communicate in a warm, informal and down-to-earth style that makes people feel at ease, without being patronising or too casual.
“If you’re finding it hard to cope and need help now – you can speak to someone who understands how you’re feeling. There are a number of helplines you can call with people who want to listen.”
Expert, skilled, professional, experienced and knowledgeable, without being cold
We’re experts in mental health and we speak with authority. We use our knowledge and experience to provide our audience with a voice they can rely on, trust and take advice from. We must not use jargon or clinical terms that they may find confusing.
“Talking therapies can help you deal with negative thoughts and feelings. Talking through your problems with someone who is trained to listen can help you make positive changes – and you don’t have to be sent by your GP.”
Responsible, simple, straightforward, informed, clear and accessible without being detached
We speak to everyone in Leeds, including those who don’t have English as their first language. We use plain English to be as clear as we can. But we’re also careful not to sound like we’re not engaged or don’t care.
“Most of us go through tough times at some point in our lives. If you’re struggling, there are lots of places to get help and support in Leeds. We can help find the right place for you.”
Ethical, accepting, respectful, understanding, reliable and supportive without being emotional
We support people with different needs. We don’t use labels and treat people as individuals. We use language that makes people feel supported and creates a place that is both inclusive and understanding.
“Talking about mental health can be hard. You may feel scared and confused about how to talk about it at work. You’re not alone. Taking a few small, simple steps can help you look after yourself and make your workplace better.”
Caring, inviting, welcoming, kindly, and friendly without being playful or light-hearted
We want our audience to feel that MindWell is a place they can go to and keep coming back to. We want people to be put at their ease about what is potentially a very sensitive subject, without making light of their problems.
“We know how hard it can be sometimes. We are here to help you.”
Focused, purposeful, meaningful and consistent without being slick
We are made up of many different services, groups and third sector organisations for mental health. We must remain consistent with our information and how we present it.
“You don’t need to see your GP to come and talk to someone. Everyone is welcome.”
Inclusive, equal and social without being loud and bold
Our tone should encourage everyone to feel valued and safe.
“Feeling supported to express your views and wishes is important. Someone who can help you make your voice heard is called an advocate. If you want to find out more about advocacy services in Leeds, we’ve listed them below.”