I saw this on Pinterest yesterday, and I think it rings true. Someone’s tone of voice can easily indicate irritation, frustration, condescension, or dismissal no matter what their words. It reminds me of an acting exercise I was forced to endure years back when I was in a community theater production of Snoopy: The Musical. In the musical, Sally, the blond naive little sister of Charlie Brown, gives a speech about how she received a “C” grade for a coat hanger sculpture. Our director decided it would be delightful if we all memorized the speech and presented it in a different persona (collective groans from all the actors). The exercise backed up this sentiment. It didn’t matter that we were all speaking the same words. If the actor was a grumpy old man, the words sounded grumpy; from a flighty debutante, the words sounded flighty. Tone is everything.
This is important for me to remember when talking to everyone from the cashier at the grocery store to my coworkers. Am I coming across as the person I want to be? Is my tone negating my words?
Do you ever struggle with your tone of voice when dealing with your students? Your coworkers? Or do you experience others whose tone doesn’t support the words they are saying?