We live in informal times when many of the conventions of the written form are breaking away.
Emails are more likely to start with ‘Hi’ than ‘Dear’. And the sign-off ‘Cheers’ is now more common than ‘Regards’.
I quite like a chatty, informal email. For me, email sits in the space between a formal letter and a phone conversation.
But what about a printed letter? And particularly, what about a printed letter or notification from a bank?
I received a notification from ANZ last week, attached to a printed statement. It’s not really a letter, as it’s not personally addressed. But I can’t help wonder whether a formal letter might have been more appropriate.
I was struck by the ‘Hi there’ in place of a salutation. I’m not sure that I want my bank adopting a chatty, informal tone when it writes to me. It somehow lacks the formality that I feel is appropriate for an organisation that manages my money.
This is a plea for writers to consider the relationship between author and reader, and to consider what tone the reader is likely to expect. I didn’t expect ‘Hi there’ from ANZ.