Today’s T word is Tone. All about tone. Tone of voice, tone of email, tone of text, tone of comment, just plain tone. Tone is an attitude of a writer toward the subject or an audience. It is generally conveyed through a choice of words and the viewpoint of the communicator.
Tone of Voice: Ever answer the phone and the person on the other end uses your full name and kind of shouts it a little bit? My mother does it to me when she has called a couple of times (we don’t have an answering machine) and I am unable to answer the phone. She’s angry because I didn’t answer the first time or two when she called so she thinks taking it out in tone of voice is going to make her feel better. I don’t know if it makes her feel better but it only makes me want to revert to the defensive and use my own tone of voice back. Hello? I don’t sit by the phone all day long waiting for it to ring so I can answer it.
Tone of Email: Have you sent an email that has been abrupt and to the point, not because you meant for it to be that way, but because you have been in a hurry, have a hundred things to do, and just don’t have time for casual chit-chit? I have. It’s not a good thing because the person on the other end of the email reads it and thinks that you don’t have time for them. Maybe so, but that is far from the tone that you were trying to accomplish. Responding to an email needs to have the same care used in tone of voice on the phone.
Tone of Text: Have you received a text from someone and interpreted it completely a different way than they mean it? Could be that their auto correct incorrectly corrected (a lot of corrections there) a word that wasn’t meant to be used. For example your boyfriend texts you and asks “Do you want to meet for pizza after work?” You respond, “No I don’t. I have too much to do tonight.” But auto correct changes it to “No idiot. I have Tom to do tonight.” Uh-oh. Not good. Be careful on those text messages.
Tone of Comment: This happens all the time on Facebook. Friendships are lost because of tone of comment. You say something that is meant to be funny but depending on the mood of the person who posted what others are commenting on, could be taken how it was not intended. Tone of comment can significantly alter how audiences respond. Think about what you really want to mean when you make that next comment. Is it appropriate for ALL audiences or is it something that might be better shared just among friends?
Just some food for thought. Hope you enjoyed the T for Tone Blog. What kind of tone issues have you run into before? Please let me hear your thoughts in the comments section. Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers today.