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Tune Up your Tone! – Don’t Congratulate Your Team in the Same Tone used to Order Your Latte

The executive who congratulates her team in the same tone she uses to order her morning latte will not have the positive effect she’s hoping for. The expression in your voice signals at least as much meaning as the words you use — sometimes more.

A lack of expression or the improper tone can result in listeners tuning out. Worse still, it can lead them to misinterpret your meaning and can actually convey something very different from what you intended. If, for instance, you say “I promise,” but do so tentatively, without conviction, you may well have done more damage than not saying anything, since there’s a good chance your listener may think you’re being insincere.

Given how much time you no doubt spend preparing your content, doesn’t it make sense to take a tiny fraction of that time to improve the tone of your delivery? Try saying the critical passages of your next communication out loud in several different ways to see if one approach sounds better—more sincere, honest and believable—than another. Better still, ask a neutral listener to provide feedback on whether your tone is coming across the way you intended.

Try this quick exercise to highlight how pacing, pauses and inflection can affect meaning. Say each phrase several times, noting how different that meaning can be when you say it:

a) normally

b) with the first word louder than the second word

c) with the last word rising in inflection as if you’re asking a question

d) with a pause between the first and second words

e) with consonants over-articulated

f) very loudly

Phrases:Don’t stay.

Sign here.

How much.

Try that.

Oh, no.

All right.

Not now.


Do you hear the difference?  Your audience will.

If you have questions about this or other techniques please sign up for a free consultation with Elizabeth Hunt HERE

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