Your tone of voice quite literally sets the tone for each call you answer. By speaking in a warm, friendly tone, you encourage callers to be friendly in return. This episode of Paging Dr. Ruby focuses on three basic components of tone: pitch, rhythm, and emphasis.
When you speak with someone face to face, you’re able to read their facial expressions and body language, adjusting your own body language to communicate the appropriate emotions or intent.
But over the phone, all you’ve got is your voice! Instead of body language, you must rely on the way you speak to convey the intention behind your words.
Depending on your tone, the same words can take on very different meanings. Think of the last phone call you made. From the way the person said “Hello” you could tell immediately whether they were in a good mood, distracted, or overwhelmed.
Your pitch plays an important role in your tone of voice. When your pitch falls flat, you come across as bored or uninterested. On the other hand, if your pitch goes up at the end of a sentence (sometimes referred to as “upspeak”), you may come across as uncertain or unsure. A surefire to keep your pitch level and warm? Smile!
Another component of tone: rhythm. Long pauses give off the impression you are distracted, and make it difficult for the caller to understand you: “How…may…Ihelpyou?” To project confidence, keep your rhythm consistent. Put distractions aside when the phone rings, and focus on your call.
Emphasis, the words you stress when speaking, is also important to express your intentions. For example, the meaning gets a little muddied when you say “How may I help YOU?” or “HOW may I help you.” But when you say, “How may I HELP you?” it’s clear you’re here to help!
Monitor your pitch, keep your rhythm steady, and emphasize the right words, and you’ll soon be a pro at communicating a warm and helpful tone to your callers!
“Paging Dr. Ruby” is a monthly videocast dedicated to sharing tips on improving communication and making personal connections. You can view other episodes in the series on our blog, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates whenever a new video is uploaded.
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