Q. When writing a proposal for my company, I typically use the pronouns “we” and “you.” For example, “We are confident that the job can be done in the time frame you desire.” I have a colleague who insists that I should write, “Our company (or XYZ Inc.) is confident that the job can be done within the time frame ABC Co. desires.” I think the repetitive naming of the companies becomes tedious to read, and it becomes confusing to refer to each company as “the firm” or whatever. I think that after the company name is mentioned at the onset, then referring to the respondent as “we” and the recipient company as “you” makes for clearer communication and also sounds less lofty and distancing. What is your opinion?
A. It sounds as though you and your colleague have different writing styles and different ideas of the level of formality that’s best for business letters. Assuming that you write to your contacts and she writes to hers, I don’t see why this should cause a problem for anyone. If you are representing someone other than yourself, however, then you should ask for guidance on the tone that person wishes to project.