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It’s A Matter of Tone: Tips on Making a Positive Impact Through Speaking

I recently conducted a customer service training session for the staff at a healthcare practice. One of the biggest issues we discussed, and an issue I find to be true with any company, is the tone of voice used when communicating. Very often what the person is saying is correct, but how it is being said communicates something completely different.

  • 7% of spoken communication is comprehended from the words that are said.
  • 38% is comprehended in they way you say your words (tone of voice).
  • 55% is comprehended from the facial expressions and body language.

If the primary communication takes place over the phone, you lose all communication through facial expressions and body language, and tone plays an even larger role. What can you do the ensure that the tone of your voice communicates your intent?

  • Record sample phone calls and play them back. Very often people do not realize what they sound like when they speak.
  • Smile when speaking: You may feel silly doing this, but I challenge you to try saying something in a negative tone with a smile on your face. It is VERY difficult.
  • Never mimic a caller: Moods are contagious. You cannot guarantee that the person on the other end of the phone will be in a good mood. It is your job to steer the conversation in a positive direction. If you keep your tone positive, it will most likely rub off on the caller.
  • Pretend you are reading a children’s book: You do not have to go as far as making voices to play different characters, but think about what you sound like when reading a book to a child and the inflections in your voice. Even if a child is too young to understand what you are saying, the inflections in your voice make them enjoy listening to how the story is being read.