Whether we like it or not, the words we choose matter. How we say them matters too. The tone and language you exhibit at work (and in all aspects of your life), are incredibly impactful elements of your communication style and are critical ingredients to your image both personally and professionally.
So let's talk about tone. Tone is the sound of your words. The pitch. The quality. The strength of your words. Tone conveys your overall attitude of what you're communicating. It leaves an impression of how you feel about a topic. Not to mention it can significantly impact others' impression and feelings based on your tonal influence.
There are so many tones of voice - cheerful, serious, soft, formal, informal, humorous, respectful. The criticality of tone for you as the communication sender is being aware of the tone you might be demonstrating at any given point in time.
Now, let's talk about language. We find the best way to categorize language is typically with informal or formal language, which are mostly formulated by a variety of different word choices and/or punctuation choices to emphasize the level of formality you're trying to achieve. Regardless of formal or informal language, conciseness and clarity should be your communication objectives when choose your words!
Language and tone together are the foundation of elevating your communication style. So how do you bring them together in a meaningful way?
First, understand the purpose of your message. Many immediately start talking without stopping and reflecting on the overall mission of the message you're delivering.
Understand and know your audience preferences when it comes to communication. Who are they? What level are they? What preferences are you aware they may have when it comes to communication (everyone has preferences)?
Say (or write) your message out loud before you give it/send it. Even if you're writing, it makes sense to repeat your message out loud first. When you hear your words, you're able to understand the tone you're delivering. Use this as an opportunity to reflect if your tone and language in your message matches your purpose and the audience receiving it. If something raises as a question for you as you practice - it likely will for the receive as well. If that's the case - keep refining. This takes practice and planning - go for it!
As you refine your message verbally or written word, go back to it. The development and revising process don't have to happen all at once. In fact, you would benefit from taking a break to afford you the opportunity to really reflect on your message.
We've all been in scenarios where we hear or read a message that doesn't hit the mark. I guarantee you, more often than not it's directly related to the tone and/or language that was chosen. Don't underestimate their criticality or value it can have in elevating your image.