Emotive proposals

April 8, 2010 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Yesterday I was re-working a proposal document for a client. The document was filled with adjectives, and it was a very emotional read.

This brings up the question, though – when is it appropriate to use emotive language? Is it appropriate in a proposal? Is it appropriate in a training manual? Is it appropriate in a marketing brochure?

It all depends, of course, on:

  • the document purpose, and
  • the audience that will be reading the document.

In an advertising document, emotive language sells. People are more attracted to products that appeal to our emotions – sex, hunger, vanity, love and family are just a few examples. Journalists use emotive language to get the reader to empathise with a story.

However, sometimes the emotive language can obscure the facts. I think when you are writing a business document, such as a proposal, it is better to stick to the facts and keep the emotion ambiguous. Your tone should be warm but professional, and you should let the facts do the talking. Too much emotive language can come across as unprofessional, and if the language is very strong, you can come across as one-sided, or even a little crazy.

What do you think? Do you ever use strong emotive language in a proposal? Have you ever read a proposal and been put off because of the language? Post a comment!

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