“Tone,” as defined by Dictionary.com is ‘pitch, volume.’ Further, it can be characterized as ‘attitude, spirit, air, approach, expression, inflection, intonation, timbre, quality and style.’
In my experience reviewing: emails, direct messages, blog post comments, Twitter streams, Facebook posts and the like, the challenge for some is evoking an opinion in a public-appropriate and diplomatic tone.
Many miss the mark. The veil of the Internet protects them from the instant verbal rebukes that may occur in a spoken conversation, so they unleash with off-the-cuff insights loaded with snark, anger and cynicism; some even jettison their hate.
The perceived invisibility and the resulting conversational litter shapes a less-than-desirable community in which to coalesce and exchange thoughts. Unfortunately, not only can this impact the individual remark-er’s reputation (unless, of course, they hide behind a disguise such as an anonymous name or ‘handle’), but it also can repel others from engaging in such an uninviting and distasteful forum.
For careerists, the composed, articulate and diplomatic manner in which you communicate is imperative to creating a magnetic outcome: drawing potential hiring companies and decision makers “to” you versus repulsing them. What are some ways to articulate your value, express a knowledgeable opinion and bring insight to the virtual table? I’d suggest the following:
- Temper emotion with pragmatism: properly and thoughtfully write out your response, with an eye on prudence. Ask yourself: Does my response educate or attack? Does it add a new point (justification for my opinion) or does it just emote a feeling, an adjective, perhaps wrought with accusation, describing your upset?
- Create a point replete with facts and figures, if possible. Concrete responses laced with objective information will more meaningfully support your feelings on a matter.
- Explain ‘why’ you feel a certain way, and ‘how’ you arrived at your conclusions. Enriching your opinion with a story that engages and encourages a reader to understand your point of view is much more likely to bring an opposing party to your side of the opinion fence than is a verbal attack aimed at dismantling another’s ideas and shining the light on your own cleverness.
- Be concise, when called for, but robust in your writing when required. Word brevity, like a meal without the main course, often leaves the reader hungry for more when seeking to understand. Doing your research and incorporating the word nourishment to fuel your idea will add meat to the message.
- Whether writing long or short, write first from the heart, laying out the essence of your emotion behind your insights. Don’t send out your thoughts just yet. Now is the time to edit, reshape and finalize, curtailing negative, demeaning or harsh tones and infusing your communication with knowledge, compelling insight and a positive sentiment.
The end-result writing rigor will represent you in a more engaging and respectable manner, one that will educate and attract. Even those who read your insights and maintain committed to opinions opposing yours may be drawn to you as a person, emotionally and intellectually and perhaps even, engage in a business initiative with you that is mutually amenable and moves both your careers forward.