Professional Tone: It’s All in the Delivery
Be it spoken or written communication, a professional tone will improve the response to a message.
When the underlying tone of our conversation says, “I’m listening, I respect you, and I’m grateful for your perspective,” it’s possible for the recipient to feel positive about an interaction even when the message being delivered isn’t what they might have hoped for.
We’ve listed four simple, yet effective changes in phrasing that can make all the difference when working in service-based sectors.
Make a personal connection.
The standard expression, “Let me see what I can do,” implies that I may not be able to do anything at all. Instead, try, “I’d be delighted to help you.” This shifts my goal to helping you, which establishes a personal connection.
Refrain from using the words “I believe” and “I think.”
“I believe” or “I think” transfers the focus away from the idea being communicated and on to you, the speaker or writer. When the message is strong and clear, it is able to stand on its own merit.
Rather than saying, “I think your audience will love this performance,” try stating, “Your audience will love this performance!” Simply removing two words heightens the confident, positive tone of your communication.
Eliminate the word “actually.”
Using the word “actually” is a subtle way to undermine your listener by implying that they’ve made an error of some sort.
Rather than saying, “Actually, you can buy the tickets by visiting our website. We won’t be selling them at the door,” try stating, “Sure thing, you can buy the tickets by visiting our website! We won’t be selling them at the door.”
The first statement implies the customer shouldn’t be troubling you with something available on the website. The second statement provides useful information in a helpful manner.
Substitute “unfortunately” with an action plan.
Starting a sentence with “unfortunately” tells the recipient to expect bad news. Bad news implies there is nothing to be done, and you can’t help your client or patron with the problem.
Avoid creating a negative mindset before they’ve even heard your complete message. Instead of saying, “Unfortunately, the only two remaining seats I have are in the front row,” try “You’re in luck! The only two remaining seats I have are in the front row.” You might proceed with “I’ve heard these seats are the best way to fully appreciate the level of artistry on stage.” This message shows the patron that you are actively engaged, while resolving any potential issue in a favourable manor.
Finally, remember to smile (even on the phone).
When you smile, you engage your cheek bones; this increases your resonance and adds warmth to your voice. It results in a more relaxed and inviting tone.
Leave your listener confident that you’re genuinely interested in helping them, and they will be open and receptive to your message.