This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!

Thesis #4: Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.

What this really says is: don’t change your voice just because you think “doing business” requires a different voice than your own.

If you’re one person, you have one voice. Your own.

If you are a company of multiple people, you have a collection of voices. A collection of voices and the motions and patterns that they represent can be called a culture. While harder to measure and certainly harder to control, corporate cultures still represent a voice, and that voice is heard and perceived by your customers.

So regardless of a solo company or a gigantic company, are going to be heard by your customers.

Once your customers get used to that voice (assuming they stick around long enough to do so), don’t lead them into a bait and switch. Maintain consistency. If your voice changes from “how can I help you” to “how can you help me”, you’ve successfully alienated the customers you’ve worked so hard to gain the trust of.

Pro-tip: the human voice is easiest to maintain when it’s not faked in the first place. So don’t fake it. We can tell.