Voice and tone Formatting Graphics Audience

Voice and tone

Our voice includes all of the ways we speak or inter­act with our audi­ence in the dig­i­tal and offline environment

It gov­erns what we say like our word choice, our punc­tu­a­tion, and our para­graph struc­ture. We’re a mouth­ful. At the same time, our con­tent is direct, sim­ple, and to the point. We stick to the grit and we mean it.

Our voice


Be clear

Get rid of all that jargon, trendy sayings like "tl;dr," buzzwords, and pop culture references. Readers shouldn’t have to watch a cult classic, read an arcane text or celebrity gossip magazine, nor know the latest meme to understand the gist of your article. Psst: We use inclusive non-gendered language whenever possible, so make sure your pronouns and referents match, except when you’re talking about a singular person. Then use ‘they,’ partner.

Be specific

We don’t want to hear about ’that time you did that thing.’ We want to hear about the way you tore your blue shirt sleeve on the car door en route to your first design presentation and how your boss, Steve, let you borrow his—three minutes before you strode in the meeting with two buttons undone. Specificity lets us relive those moments with you. It’s a powerful sandwich.

Get to the point

You’re here to rip eyelids open—to say something original. To do that, you have to dive right in. Don’t waste time milling around your topic with long intros or slow anecdotes. Strike swift and to the heart. Write like you could die of tuberculosis tomorrow.

Write for your readers

Our audience hangs out in several different pools: the freelancer, digital PM, and agency pools, for example. Honour them by giving pertinent background information and relevant context. Like a friendly handshake; they’ll trust you and read on.

Use clear headlines

Flowers are cool, but flowery headlines are useless. Not only do they cloud the meaning of the content they’re meant to describe, but they’re lost in search engines and inaccessible at a glance. How can you say something punchy, but give it some teeth? Choose to write clear headlines over fancy ones.

Active voice

It’s not “our project was given the old one-two-kicked with a shoe.” Our subject comes first: “The gnarly haired CEO gave our project the old one-two-kick with a shoe.”; Only scaredy cats who are afraid to rumple feathers use passive voice. You’re brave. Say it directly.

Write well

Paragraph structure

If you need a little help structuring your sentences, get familiar with paragraph formatting in this paragraph style resource.

Grammar guide

Get a little extra help with pesky grammar grinds.

Creative flow

Desperate to inject some life into your prose? We highly recommend some mini writing adventures with Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. If your work doesn’t get better, you didn’t follow her rules.

Try Sarah Selecky’s daily writing prompts for even more intensive prose conditioning.

Our tone


How we say what we say. Our tone is our branding, our style, our sense of humour. It tells us when to joke and when to get serious. Wrap this approach around your writing and grow words with mighty wings.

Our Louder Than Ten tone is playful, punchy, and direct. We whip crunchy words into tart sentences like a classic rhubarb crisp. Unusual metaphors win—we’ll topple traditional cliches for creative word choices that make our lines come to life. Descriptive headlines announce a new thought or direction.

Tone attributes

Bold

We’re not afraid to make strong statements. We don’t shy away from the tough conversations, the controversy, or calling out stinky piles of bullshit. We hold people and their assumptions under the light and we ask questions.

Contrarian

We’re marching against the herd. When others say that ‘seven things’ article headlines are the best way to get our content noticed, we say: ‘Forget click bait. We’ll write better, thank you very much.’ We’re digging up the earth and churning it through our fingers. We’re challenging stuffy rhetoric and demanding better answers.

Curious

Why. We always ask it. And then we ask again. We ask so many questions and explore every fold that nothing ends up the way it started. It’s an analysis of human nature and we never shy away from reaching deeper to pull meaning out of our social situations.

Disarming

We care, dammit. We want to know about you and what matters to you. We’re laid back and put you at ease with a sense of compassion and a nose for humour that changes from dry to wet faster than you can put on your galoshes. You hardly know what to expect, but you adore every minute of it.

Empathetic

Emotional intelligence is our calling card. We don’t leave home without clearing our schedules and our ears. We are all yours, and mutually our hearts sit in the same place (left side, kind of above the liver).

Gritty

We like to sift stories out of the dirt. How are firefighters like project managers? What can we learn from organized drug cartels regarding their organizational structure? Why is our industry ruled by fear and how we do become better together? We’re pointing at things cloaked in the dark, and we’re playing a new side of this story.

Playful

We’ll tug your ear or your leg and give you a light hearted chuckle. We poke fun at ourselves and everyone else, and we do it to show the absurdity of who we let ourselves become if we don’t. We tell jokes when it’s warranted and play with words like they are laser pointers.

Sharp

Laser beams straight to the eye. We’re focused and present our points clearly. The only garnish is the fun and it accents our points to make them more salient.

Visceral

You should feel the way we talk. It should cut through the air like a hot knife through jello. We want to etch an image to the base of your skull right where your optic nerves zap your occipital lobe.

Vulnerable

Our bellies are exposed. We have nothing to hide. We write from the heart and we tell the truth. We trust you; we know you are flesh and blood human and have made mistakes like we do. We want to talk about all the things we are, or wish we were, and find out how to make a community out of the goodness that we bring to our tables. We need your help.

More or less…

TypeMore likeLess likeNotes

Web content

Are you lost? This page is. We all get lost sometimes.
 But then we find our life preserver and a bottle of gin and things tend to get better.

Dead end. You’ve hit a 404 error.

Leave the technical jargon and talk like a human. Appeal to the softer side. Be honest.

Email

Hey, it’s really great you reached out. Let’s chat and see if we can help you out. Which time works best?

Thank you for contacting us. Can we set up a meeting to talk about your goals and what you’re looking for? We'd really like to work together.

We're friendly and detached. We can't help everyone, but we're committed to help the people who are ready for change.

Course material

Why do you think project managers have such an important job to do?

Here’s a list of reasons project managers have such an important job…

We don't just wag our fingers like a dictator and tell the story. We unfold it by asking students deep synthesis driven questions so they can own the experience.

Coax article

Projects fail. Hard. Wanna know why? Here’s a short lick of the project world underbelly. Surprise: we set ourselves up to fail.

Want to learn the secrets of project management? You won’t believe tales of how hard these projects failed.

We're not writing for PMI readers and we're not douche bags writing click bait. Our writers shout out feelings using their hearts and brains as megaphones.

Social media

Here’s a project plan template that’ll impress your mom.

Here’s a project plan template that will impress the boss.

Who cares what people think? Love your mothers and speak your minds. The future of work won't leave room to impress our bosses.

Talk to us.

Learn more about our programs or just say hi.