One of the liveliest parts of the 2 day training we do on customer communications is around the power of vocal tone. It is clearly important, no-one would deny that but were you aware that it makes up something like 80% of the impact of verbal communication? Surprisingly the content of what you say is only 20%.

During the morning I use the phrase “…. and later on I’m going to show you how you can tell more than 40 things about someone from as little as the first 6 words. Oh, and by the way, that’s someone you can’t see, and someone you’ve never spoken to before.”

Our module is called Expression, Energy & Emphasis. We take a very ordinary, everyday phrase – the type of thing anyone might use many times every day, without stopping to think about it. Then I ask people within the group to act out that phrase in any style they choose, but the key thing I ask them to do it badly. To deliver the words in a way that it shouldn’t be done. We get a series of styles and then we analyse them to consider what we think we know about someone who answers the phone in that style.

Now, of course it is almost impossible to describe how this exercise develops as “you have to be there.” That’s the whole thing about vocal tone. You can’t theorise about it too much. You simply have to get on and consider it with practical examples.

Then at the end of each vocal style we then characterise them as colours. Slightly strange perhaps, but an idea I got from someone I was training at a course in Milton Keynes a few years ago. I loved the idea, so I’ve developed it, and it’s an integral part of the course.

The 4 colour voices we end up with are Grey, Red, Pink & fluffy and the Brown man.

Interestingly of all the things we cover on our courses I find the bit about the 4 colour voices one of those that has the longest amount of recall. Fun to aid learning. It certainly works for me. I often go back into client companies years later and find that delegates remind me of the work on the 4 colour voices.

If you want your team to understand better the real importance of vocal tone and energy on the phone with your customers, let us know. This is a key part of both our customer service and telesales / telemarketing courses. To Market runs telephone techniques courses across the Midlands and Eastern Counties in Leicester, Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Oakham, Uppingham, Warwick, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Lichfield, Milton Keynes, Derby, Nottingham, Hucknall, Loughborough, Cambridge, Newmarket, Huntingdon, Peterborough as well as wider parts of the East and West Midlands. Contact us via e-mail or call us directly on 01858 461148.