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  • 08 Dec, 2013
  • 1 Min Read

Tone…how important is it?

A discussion started recently on Linkedin about the importance of words, tone and body language. The initial comment stated figures from a study done on communication by R Mehrabian – that message is carried by 7% words, 38% tone and 55% body language” – started a fair bit of discussion.

Why is tone imporatant? In speech changing aspects of our voice can change the meaning of a comment or statement. For example, if we ask: “are you coming by taxi?” in a neutral tone it is simply a question as to how we might be travelling. If we raise our voice and ask the same question in a loud voice, it might suggest we are angry about this choice of transport.

By contrast when we write (text and email included) we cannot hear tone. Our punctuation might suggest our tone but we can’t be sure if someone is trying to be funny, mean or sarcastic by words alone. Which is why conversation (face to face is best) is by far the better way to communicate, to hear the words and understand the meaning beneath the words.

Record yourself repeating the same phrase but using different tone of voice so you can hear exactly how we carry meaning in our tone. Learning how to change your tone is covered in the modulation section of the Say It Clearly manual. For more information contact the author.