I Versus We

Marina’s question: “When do I use ‘I’ in a document and when do I use ‘we’? Are they interchangeable?”

BizWritingTip blog response: First of all, yes, you can use both I and we in the same business document. Years ago, you were only supposed to use “we.” Nowadays, I means you personally. We refers to everyone who works for your organization.

If you have any questions, please contact us. (Someone in the organization will help you.)
If you have any questions, please contact me. (I will help you.)

It’s interesting how personal pronouns tend to increase your reader’s “buy in” to your message. The more personal pronouns, the warmer the tone — particularly the pronoun “you.” A great guideline is to aim for seven personal pronouns per 100 words.

As per your request (boring and outdated)
As requested (cold)
As you requested (warm)

Note: Have you ever wondered why you get bored reading formal reports? It’s normally because there are no personal pronouns.