Tone of voice has a profound effect on the people around you, including how they feel and act. Here’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to your tone of voice.
How you say things is far more important than the actual words used. The tone in which you speak conveys how you feel – and the people around you pick up on this without even thinking. It can make people feel positive or negative, happy or sad, motivated or uninterested.
For example, Dr. Wendy LeBorgne started her Tedx Talk about Vocal Branding by saying: “Hi, it is my pleasure to be here with you all today.” She points out that in just 13 syllables, the audience made judgments about her – from her intelligence level to whether they would want to sit and listen to her.
The things said by us in everyday life – both at work and at home – have exactly the same effect.
For business leaders in particular, tone of voice is crucial, as team dynamics and business productivity hinge on how communication is delivered. Here are five reasons why improving your tone of voice can make a big difference.
1. Make your meaning crystal clear
Tone of voice adds nuance to commonly used words to convey a specific meaning. Everyday phrases can be said in multiple ways – and those listening will have different impressions as a result. For example, “what do you mean?” could be said aggressively, inquisitively or enthusiastically. It could be taken as a challenge, or show genuine interest in another person’s ideas. Tone of voice is therefore a tool in making your words come across with exactly the meaning you’re looking for.
2. Improve your work relationships
The dynamic between colleagues stems from positive communication, and tone of voice is central to this. Using a tone of voice that demonstrates positivity and genuine interest in others can reap many rewards in the workplace. Using a tone that makes people feel welcome to come to you for support generates mutual trust and respect, which does wonders for creating healthy working relationships.
3. Inspire others
A key part of the job of leaders and managers is to inspire those around them, and tone of voice a fantastic way to make people feel engaged. While speaking in a monotone voice can cause those listening to feel disinterested, using range in your voice and demonstrating some passion in your tone will have the opposite effect. Speaking with just the right amount of volume also demonstrates decisiveness and intelligence – something employees respond very positively to.
4. Increase productivity
Speaking in such a way that motivates, inspires and gives a little feelgood factor ultimately makes employees more loyal and productive. The way people feel when they come to work has a direct effect on their performance – so the business can only benefit if you try to make people feel comfortable and driven in the workplace.
5. Bring in business
Tone of voice doesn’t just have a positive impact on business employees – it’s important for external business relationships too. Tone has the power to convey strength, power, aptitude, empathy and control. These are all qualities that make others feel confident about entering into business relationships.
6. Workplace Wellbeing
Tone of voice has a direct impact on workplace relationships with co-workers. Communicating with people in a louder harsher volume can affect the way they feel. Whilst speaking in a softer tone can make people feel calmer and positive.
It’s common to have a false impression of what our own tone of voice is. Recording yourself on a business call or in a meeting can be helpful in improving your tone. Listen back to a recording and analyse how you come across. You may be surprised at the results. And sometimes, even tweaking the way you say things can have a substantial impact.