Tone of Voice in Communication

Tone of Voice in Communication

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In this video we’re going to talk about tone of voice and how your tone shapes the rest of your communication. So let’s get into the details. Welcome back. I’m Alex Lyon and this channel, Communication Coach is here to help you become a better leader and part of leadership is communication part of communication is tone of voice. Your tone communicates a lot more than you realized. So let’s define it and then we’ll talk about some practical applications and details. First of all your tone of voice is the musical notes that your voice communicates separated from your words. That’s my own little definition but your tone, your intonation is really the sound of the voice as if you were to chart it out in music. When I was a young kid I used to hear my parents talking through the walls at night and I couldn’t hear their words but I could hear their tone. My dad has a very low tone of voice. He’s like DJ on the radio he has a baritone or even a bass voice so he talks like this through the walls. Buh buh buh buh buh buh buh buh, like a tuba. Can’t hear the words but you can hear him playing that tuba. buh buh buh buh buh buh. And then my mother has a higher voice like a little clarinet. So she would respond no no no no no no no. and I would hear them going back and forth bah bah bah bah bah bah bah no no no no no no no and having this conversation that sounded like two instruments communicating in a call-and-response. Thats tone of voice, the musical sounds and you may know people for example that have what you might call a singsongy voice. They have lots of variety in their tone when they’re communicating. And when we say tone of voice in an academic sense that’s what we mean. But in an everyday conversation in a professional setting if someone says their tone they generally mean much more than that. Essentially they mean any other kinds of vocal nonverbal cues that the person is giving off so their their pacing their volume their emphasis their pauses. We’re hearing all of that and we’re saying that’s their tone of voice because it’s very hard isolate, in an everyday situation only be musical sound to their voice. We’re hearing all of those nonverbal vocal cues together and in fact when I’m hearing my parents speak through the wall, I am absolutely hearing their tone but I’m also hearing their volume I’m hearing their pacing their pauses and I can tell if they’re having a pleasant conversation and or a not so pleasant conversation as parents sometimes have. Because the overall sound of their voice is what I’m hearing even though I cannot hear the words. So when we say tone, we generally mean all of those vocal cues combined and collapsed into one. So this kind of communication has a lot of influence on the way we’re hearing people’s overall message. It adds shades of meaning, adds emotion, it adds attitude to what we are hearing. And we’re often more likely to believe the person’s nonverbal cues than we are the actual words. So if you ask me how I’m doing and I said I’m fine, well obviously I’m not fine even though the text says I’m fine if you look at the transcript. My nonverbal communication my tone of voice says I am NOT fine. And there’s a sentence on the internet that’s only seven words that I’ve been seeing all over the place when you look at tone of voice and so forth that I want to share with you. It has only seven words but depending upon how you emphasize those words the meaning of these sentence changes. So here it is in the basic sense. I’ll just say it’s straight one time. I never said she stole the money. I tried not to emphasize anything there and now I’ll do it where I repeat it but I emphasize different parts of the sentence each time and notice how it changes the meaning. I never said she stole the money. I never said she stole the money. I never said she stole the money. I never said she stole the money. I never said she stole the money. I never said she stole the money. So I’m hitting those words every time I say the sentence little differently and you can hear that it changes the meaning almost completely. Our vocal cues added to our words our overall tone of voice shapes the way we are hearing it. And you’ll notice it’s very hard to separate tone from other things. So I was emphasizing those words one at a time but in each case my voice my tonality went up on the key word but so did my volume. I slowed down. I emphasized, my pacing changed right there. All of those nonverbal vocal cues are combined when we are generally talking about tone of voice. Now let’s step back even further and talk about how our other nonverbal cues also influence what people are getting from us. They might see visual cues as well and that those visual nonverbal cues also emphasize what we’re saying and change the attitude and the emotion. So I might be rolling my eyes when I say this. I might be making a face when I say this. I might be pushing back from my desk or gesturing with my hands non-verbally. And when I say this and all of those nonverbal visual cues add another layer to how people are receiving our tone. And in fact I worked with a guy many years ago that certainly had a tone of voice issue. It sounded very rude and very disrespectful even though he never said anything technically rude. He had the attitude in his voice but he was also rolling his eyes and gesturing when people other people were speaking and a lot of times people would just say to him all your tone of voice. It’s your tone of voice but I when I saw him communicate, it was a heck of a lot more than just his tone. It was all of those nonverbal cues all packaged into one kind of bad attitude and disrespectful attitude he was communicating. So we’re hearing tone of voice but we’re seeing the person generally as well and that adds to that nonverbal communication that we are receiving. A couple of checks. First of all, I would like you to do some practical application here. What kind of tone of voice do you give off? How do you sound? You might want to ask somebody that you know and trust and you know loves you and is not going to judge you. Like if you were me, I would ask my wife because she’ll be honest. Hey, honey what kind of tone of voice do I generally have? Maybe you have a frustrated tone of voice. Maybe you have an angry tone of voice. Maybe you have a warm welcoming tone of voice. I don’t know what it is. Ask somebody. Second check for your practical application. Ask yourself. What does this communicate to the people around me? If I hear someone with a frustrated tone, I’m not assuming oh they are frustrated with themselves. If someone’s speaking to me in a frustrated tone, I’m assuming they’re frustrated with me. As an emerging leader, as somebody in a professional setting, what does your tone communicate to the people around you? What does it say to them? You want to make sure you’re sending off the right nonverbals to accompany your words. So I’d look forward to hearing your comments to those questions, your responses to those questions in the section below the video. I read almost all those comments and I respond to almost every one as well. I look forward to taking a look at what you have to offer in that comment section below the video. So thanks. God bless and I will see you next time. Hello again. I hope you found that video on tone of voice helpful. I wanted to invite you to download a Free Quick Guide to Essential Professional communication Skills. You can find the link to that resource in the description below the video.

32 thoughts on “Tone of Voice in Communication”

  1. Free Download pdf Quick Guide to Professional Communication Skills::

  2. This is very well put! Someone I talk to has a lot of issues with tone and don't understand how upsetting it is to me. I think this will help me to explain to him why what he's saying and how he says it are two different things. Thank you for this video!

  3. Frank Zappa said music is a "collection of sounds", which is precisely what a person's voice is. All excellent points – thanks for the video.

  4. Hi Alex, I was wondering what advice can you give me on how to have a smoother tone of voice? I feel that by having a smoother tone of voice can give your speech a positive impact towards people when communicating to them.

  5. Personal Reference:
    3:10 – "Im Fine"
    3:30 – Seven Word
    4:28 – End of Seven Word emphasis
    4:50 – Visual Cues With Example
    6:23 – END

  6. Hi Desi!

    When i speak, i come off arrogant and harsh even though i don't intend for my sentences to sound like that.
    For example, i told the waiter, that i borrowed a lighter from, that he can take his lighter back because i was done using it, but that came off arrogant out of my mouth, as if i hated having that ligher on the table "you can take it back!"

  7. Hey there!
    I have arrogant and rude tone of voice.My freinds says, i sound rude very often even when i don't want to be!!!
    Help me out…..

  8. Sometimes i would say things and in my mind i am calm because i know that I am, but to people around me it seem like i am quarelling with them.

    They would say things like you have some serious attitude, or why you quarelling with me or watch your tone. It frustrates me all because most times sometimes I am calm until i get accused of being angrry until i do get angry which is not good. How can I fix that?

  9. I believe my tone of voice is very direct and strong. it is any exercises that I can do in order to modulate my voice and do not come to strong to people, it is something that I need to catch myself and at that moment change my tone of voice… all help will be really appreciated. Thank you

  10. Hello Alex, I am frustrated in my new job and have been told my tone of voice is the key. I am learning a new career and I am so excited to have this new job (It’s my dream job) and I am frustrated that I don’t know everything on the planet about this new position. I think this may be my problem. I have been in my former career for 26 years (I knew just about everything there was to know about my former career) and I want to be better and communicate to the people around me in my new job. Please help I am afraid that if I don’t fix this I will lose my dream job!!

  11. My boss said " the content is good but the tone could be more humble." I think in the business/professional environment i tended to get very factual and to the point. This happens even more when I am nerves or mad. Any advice, as i am an emerging leader.

  12. Hi I always hear people telling me that my tone of voice is just opposite of what I mean to say and that is my nature. Whenever I conversate with them all I get to hear is “watch your tone" even when I'm having a very normal and casual kinda conversation all I get to hear is “improve your tone".
    Could you please suggest me some remedies to it?

  13. So I’m a nice and kind person because I ALWAYS conscious striving for that. I also always have good intentions. I don’t understand mean, manipulative and narcissist because I am not one. Yet I’m often accused of having an attitude or trying to put people down and being rude because the other person or persons wrongfully reads my tone of voice as such. Even my mom has said this since I was young. I’m desperate and I don’t know what to do!

    I’m at the point that I literally HATE my voice. I HATE my voice because my tone of voice sounds mean and awful to people. Ugh! I’ve even had clients ask me if I’m mad or upset. And to make matters worse, I have a Resting Bitch face (inherited from my dad’s side—my great grandfather’s resting face looked mean, and my aunt’s resting face looks mean) with a downwards turned mouth!

    I need help. I’m even considering surgery to at least make my face look friendly and happy to match who I really am.

  14. I tend to think myself as a calm guy, not arrogant. But I also perceive that sometimes my tone of voice is hard for people to understand. The higher I raise my voice, the harder for people to understand. So I try to speak calm, and in that process I also perceive myself as weak in the communication department.

  15. Excellent video. Responding to Anchit Anand (below), My angry tone is triggered when people misunderstand me and show no desire to understand. It comes from age 5 when my mother would hit me because me and my little sister were fighting. My sister was was mean and cruel to me through our teen years and always the instigator. My mother didn't want to know. Now that I have the awareness of my trigger, I can choose to change it.

  16. Thank you, Alex! I am a Speech Pathologist working with high school students on social skills. You have provided an excellent description and I really appreciate it!

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