Watch Your Tone | Travel Research Online


Watch Your Tone

Someone once told me to remember that elephants don’t bite. Mosquitoes do. This is a clever attempt at reminding us that it is the little things when overlooked can 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?”


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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 inferred a totally different story.

The problem was that my mind drifted from his message to my apparently false 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 once they interpret you as anyone less than squared away.

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

As a general rule, people like to hang around people who appear to “have their act 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 are thinking 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.

Today’s Message: Tone is an important element of the marketing mix. Make sure that your tone is working for you and not against you.

Mike Marchev

Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at

Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.

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