Big Ideas: Watch your tone | TravelResearchOnline


Big Ideas: Watch your tone

Someone once told me to remember that elephants don’t bite. … mosquitoes do. This is a unique way of reminding us that it is the little things, when overlooked, will do us the most harm.

I was recently reminded of this when a former business acquaintance “reached out” and gave me an unexpected phone call.  It had been a while since we last communicated which was a result of two busy people trying to make ends meet. It was good to hear his voice again.

In a few short minutes I detected uneasiness in his tone. I did not mention it at first as we were too busy catching up. Detecting a momentary break in the flow of the conversation, I couldn’t help myself. I asked him point blank what was bothering him since his tone was a dead giveaway that something wasn’t right.

He responded, as one would predict, “Nothing’s wrong, why do you ask?”

“It sounds like you have 400 pounds of dead weight on your shoulders.” I said. “Are you sure you are okay?”

I’ll leave the story there for now. Hopefully, my point has been made. When calling people on the phone, the only thing you have going for you is your voice. Since I can’t see you or interpret your body language, I must rely on your words, tone and inflection to interpret your message. Your voice has to carry the load. And although there might have been nothing wrong with my business associate, this man’s voice indicated something entirely different.

The problem was that my mind drifted from his message to my interpretation. This is how it works. And this is what you must avoid.  It is in your best interest to come across on all phone communications as the upbeat, happening person that you are. You can’t allow a little laziness on your part to sabotage your business relationships. Your clients have too many other options for buying travel if they interpret you as anything less than squared away.

Truthfully,  we all have our little problems and concerns. I am fully involved with mine and quite frankly, I just don’t have the time or luxury to adopt yours as my own.

As a general rule, people like to be around people who appear to “have it together.” With this in mind, here are three things to think about:

  1. Be cognizant of your ‘tone” when speaking on the telephone. What you think may not be what others are hearing.
  2. When feeling a little funky, stay off the phone. (If you do answer it, you better be good at pretending that you are feeling good.)
  3. Remember that 100% of your marketing dollars are spent for the single purpose of having someone contact you. When your phone rings, don’t blow it by sounding like you have 400 pounds of dead weight on your shoulders.

Tone is an important element in the marketing mix. Make yours a good one.

Mike Marchev has “been around the bases” more than a few times, and enjoys sharing his street-smart lessons with who ever will pause long enough to listen.

If you are interested in receiving his FREE 7-Lesson On-Line Marketing Course, go to and sign in at the box.  It is as easy as saying Bada Bing, Bada Boom. DO IT! Now!

  4 thoughts on “Big Ideas: Watch your tone

  1. Keith Powell says:


    Another great article. The points are well made.

  2. It’s funny that you write this: Almost 100% of our business is made over the phone and through email, even though we are a retail agency with a store front. We can really keep up the good cheer and talk on the phone about our niche, deluxe rail travel. But when our local newspaper featured our business, we had about 1,000 local people flood to our door! It was hard to keep up the good cheer. Only about 2 of them really wanted to go on a great train trip. Most of them — we could tell — just wanted our publication. We’ll talk on the phone and write emails any day!

  3. I make it a point to smile as I reach for the phone – it makes all the difference in my tone of voice. If I’ve been sitting for a while , standing up while I answer also gives me a more upbeat tone.

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