This is a guest post by Cheryl Posey. She is a licensed and nationally certified speech pathologist that focuses on Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training. You can find and follow her on her Speaking Your Best website.
When we speak, our listeners get an impression of how we feel from our tone of voice. We can sound pleasant and friendly, angry and upset, or irritated and frustrated.
It is not enough to just say the right words, we also need to be cautious about the tone we use so that we convey our message effectively. How do you want to be perceived? Do you let your underlying emotions interfere in your daily conversations with others? If you do, then you may be sending the wrong messages!
When we express a firm or harsher voice, we usually display the following features:
- Our melody is more controlled, so that when we stress important words with less up and down pitch changes.
- Our speaking volume may be louder
- Facial expressions are more controlled, and the person may be frowning, with no smile
When we express a friendly tone of voice, we usually display the following features:
- Our up and down pitch when stressing words is more extreme. This means that we tend to make higher pitch changes.
- Our speaking volume may be softer, but not necessarily. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, but, generally speaking, a quieter voice will signal a less aggressive tone.
- When we are happy, we generally smile when we speak, and people can hear it! Use your smile as much as you can to help your speech sound more pleasing to others!
Practice the following statements. Each sentence is said twice, once in a firm or harsher tone and once in a friendly tone. See if you can hear and feel the difference between the two tones, both when you hear them and when you say them. Listen Now.
- Good morning, how are you doing today?
- I like the idea you had in today’s meeting.
- You did a really good job on that project.
- I’d like to talk to you for a minute if this is a good time.
- Would you like to go out for lunch tomorrow at noon?
- I think that we should go with Al’s idea for this project.
- You make a good point, and I will keep that in mind.
- Could we talk about that a little later?
- It’s so good to see you!
- Thank you for the compliment.
Question: Are you consciously aware of your tone?