We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” No one is going to listen very long if you’re speaking gibberish, so your content does count for something; however, science supports that your tone, pitch, inflection, loudness, and pacing can be as important as your words themselves. And, without body language and visual cues, these auditory signifiers can become even more crucial over the phone.

Take your basic telephone greeting, for example: “Thank you for calling ABC Company. This is Ruby. How may I help you?”

  • Said quickly and without pauses, your caller may conclude that you’re in a rush and too busy to help them. Even though you just offered to help them.
  • Uttered in a high pitch and/or very softly, your greeting could sound timid or uncertain – neither of which is exactly trust-inspiring.
  • Placing the wrong emphasis on the words in your salutation could lead to a sarcastic tone, which could confuse or offend your caller.

Already, your caller has inferred so much, and it’s only been a few seconds!

What can you do to soften your tone and create the right impression for your business every time you pick up the phone?

  1. Avoid falling flat. Using a monotone voice may convey sadness or disinterest. A melodic rhythm, on the other hand, expresses cheerfulness and warmth.
  2. Deepen your pitch. You’ll sound more confident, and you may feel more confident as well!
  3. Slow down. While some pace-matching will make callers comfortable, if they’re upset or angry, it’s best not to mirror their emotion by speaking swiftly. Articulating slowly will show that you’re composed and collected, and reassures your caller that their trust is well-placed.

Feel free to give Ruby a call at 866-611-7829 to hear firsthand how we use tone (and diction) to create stellar experiences for callers. As a client once told us, “It’s like getting cupcakes through the phone!”

Photo via the Vancouver Film School