Communication is vital in the workplace. Whether you’re on a sales call with a potential client or leading a team meeting on new procedures, almost everything you do is dependent upon how you communicate with others. What many don’t realize is that your tone can affect your communication in business both positively and negatively, making your interactions highly engaging or incredibly offputting.
Why is tone important?
10% of conflict is due to differences of opinion and 90% to the tone of voice. – Anonymous
When speaking with others, your tone clarifies and conveys meaning. A phrase as simple as “I don’t know” can be taken in a number of different ways depending on how you decide to express it. Your tone can not only affect how people perceive you but also their willingness to listen to you – especially in the workplace.
How it affects the workplace
Most of the time, people are able to control what types of words they use when communicating with others, but their tone is harder for them to manage. In the workplace, tone plays a huge role in productivity. If a manager or colleague sounds irritated, disinterested, or bored when providing supervision or suggestions, they are manifesting a negative tone. This can impact how employees see their manager or colleague, damaging overall morale and engagement.
How to improve tonal communication
- If there’s a problem, address it. No issue was ever resolved by letting it go. Sometimes the person in question is simply unaware of their tone. The best thing to do is address the elephant in the room, come to a resolution, and move on.
- Listen to yourself. Have you ever recorded a meeting you were speaking in or even a sales call? If not, you should. Take this time to learn how you interact with and speak towards others. You might even find that your own tone surprises you.
- Reflect. Most of the time, the reasoning behind a negative tone is a part of a bigger picture. If you are going through a tough time or are feeling a bit stressed, your tone can come off negatively without you even realizing it. Before you go into work, take some time to reflect on how you’re feeling. The last thing you want is to blow up on innocent bystanders during your weekly team meeting.
Even though your tone is just one small component of communication, it should never be underestimated. Improving your tone can help create a positive work environment, strengthen understanding and appreciation for your team, and result in better collaboration and teamwork.
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