Shame … about the tone of voice

I got an email this week from an organization I’m aware of but have no involvement with. I know they raise money but I don’t know how that money is used. I don’t know the difference it makes to those I love and care about.

There was a little extra padding but broadly speaking the email said:

“We do a vital job. Disappointingly only a few of us were at the meeting. We cannot achieve what we want with so few so we are calling on you all to help. We hope to see you soon.”

Well they won’t see me. I deleted it.

Maybe I’m being a bit reactionary. I know they have a value, that they do some good work. But the tone of voice in the email is all about shame. The meaning between the lines is ‘we’re working hard but you’re not doing your bit and you should stop ‘faffing around’ doing whatever it is you do with your days and make your contribution.’ It’s like being told off by mum or dad.

Someone else told me this week about a task he’d asked his team members to complete. They hadn’t done it so he sent an email saying how disappointed he was and would they please do it without any further delay. Guess what, they didn’t.

These types of communication are far too common in business. Management adopts the ‘parental voice’ and the workforce is the ‘child’ being told what to do, when and how.

It’s not the way to get the best out of your team.

There are lots of things you need to do, to have in place, if you really want to motivate your team but in communication terms one of the most important is to get your tone of voice right.

To be the best we can be, to be motivated and inspired, management and workforce, team leader and team, need to speak as ‘adults’. We don’t need ‘parents’ or ‘children’ in the room.

With years of experience working on internal and external communications I can help you and your business get your tone of voice right, whether it’s with your employees, customers or business partners.

Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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By Cathy Connan

I'm an integrative psychotherapist. I help people invest in their wellbeing and live the life they want.