Content vs. Tone: Balancing the Scales

Sometimes how you say something is just as important as what you say.  In print it can be the font that you choose, to bold or not to bold, and punctuation that convey your tone. Of course, tone comes through in your voice when you speak your words aloud.  Your intent is always open for interpretation and, unfortunately, often may be misconstrued. That’s why today’s post will focus on tips for properly expressing the tone that you were going for and why that’s so important.

  1. For high impact, you need a little drama. Whether it’s larger text, bolder type or just exclamation points. If you shout it or just pause for effect, you need to emphasize the important stuff. If all your words flow together your audience may miss the focus of your message.  Don’t let your main idea get lost in the fray.  Make it stand out.
  2. Silence can be golden. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that has the most impact. Don’t be afraid to add a few spaces or a long pause.  Allowing your audience to fill in the blanks can provide high impact and make your message clearer.
  3. Be clear and concise. Back when you were in school word count mattered and more often than not you were trying to increase your verbiage to hit the minimum mark. The opposite is true in marketing and advertising, especially in today’s social media crazed society. If you go on and on about something, chances are your audience will have tuned out before you get to the main point you were trying to make. Don’t risk it, say what you want to say in a clear, concise fashion.
  4. Consider your audience. What may seem funny to one group could be offensive to another. Excitement could be mistaken for alarm. Seriousness misinterpreted as anger.  Think about who you are addressing before deciding how to craft your message. Drafting a specific, targeted idea tailored to appeal to your audience can have a much greater impact.
  5. Read, reread, and have someone else read your message. We are often victims of our own brains. We know what we were trying to say, therefore, we get the message loud and clear. Not only are we confident in our message, our minds will even fill in missing words or automatically correct inaccuracies in word choice.  That’s why you need another party to read your work to see if your message is coming through clearly.

What you say is important, how you say it is equally significant. If your message is misinterpreted it can have a negative impact on your business. A joke that offends someone, a serious tone that comes across as anger; these can all discourage clients from using your business in the future. Excitement that comes across as alarm changes “Something big is happening soon!” from a positive development to be anticipated to a negative event that could be detrimental to your business.  You need your customers to hear not just your words, but your feelings about those words as well.

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