Not what is said but HOW it is said! The tone of our voice!



note: Direct this message to Josh asap. There is misunderstanding on the application of the product to the surfaces and the WHATIT fell to the floor. Customers are angry.

I need for you to return to Seattle as soon as possible. I will instruct you in more detail on the use of our product.


How to deliver the cryptic message…that was the question. Then it came to me in a flash. I would not malign Josh. I would read the message to him. It would then be not so much criticism as it would be acknowledgment of a mistake. The message would be transformed by the sound of my voice…cryptic no more! I had a thought that the flaw may not be in Josh’s performance. It may have been the instructor’s mistake. Maybe it should be read in an apologetic tone of voice. Maybe!

Every message is shaded by the sound that delivers it…on paper the sound is lost and the message is the reader’s to interpret. Reading out loud is thus more and more important.

Do you think that will work?



13 thoughts on “Not what is said but HOW it is said! The tone of our voice!

  1. Without inflection or other body language signals, we need to pay closer attention to what is said or not said, learn to delay response when we’re unclear and more often exercise benefit of doubt. We are more dependent on technology for communication so we need to become more adept of deciphering messages with out the previous clues that helped us.Okay, maybe you really didn’t want a response but the topic is so relevant the reply came naturally. Thanks for the post.

  2. If tone can not be conveyed effectively in writing, how do we we enjoy literature? Tone can be crafted through word choice and timing and the pacing of correspondence. While inflection infers tone in direct communication that does not mean we can’t communicate effectively without it. Do we need inflection for a love letter or rejection notice?

  3. Thank you all for your comments…I really do appreciate and encourage you to give a response. I was interested in each idea. It seems to me it is the voice we hear inside our head when we read a message that helps us interpret the meaning…especially if the message is “cryptic” When I first read the message I heard a disgusted, frustrated boss calling a unreliable employee back for more instruction. Then I read it in an apologetic voice and it changed completely. The love letter we receive has a voice all it’s own…we hear the voice of the writer. If our boss was a patient person the message would sound totally different than if our boss were a bully or demanding autocrat! Take care.b

  4. An interesting editorial about writing and communication here. And, I think, a wrong choice. By reading the words aloud and adding a voice that may or may not be within the original intent, you are perhaps clouding communication rather than enhancing it. And you’re putting yourself smack in the middle of a potentially bad situation. You may think you’re doing a kind turn to Josh, but I’m not so sure…

  5. Hmmm, much as I prefer to hear tone, sometimes it is equally possible to misinterpret a tone as words read silently on a page. The chacnes of misunderstanding are there no matter how we communicate.Very thought provoking take on the prompt.

  6. Doesn’t this teach us that we need to be very careful when we choose our words. When we publish online, those that read us may not be in the same place we are and misjudge what we say. What is intended to be humorous may sound mean spirited or misguided by another.Thank you for your comments.b

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