The power of vocal tone

One of the liveliest and most fun parts of the 2 day training we cover on customer communications is around the power of vocal tone. We would all acknowledge that it’s  important. But are you aware that it makes up something like 80 – 95% of the impact of verbal communication? Surprisingly the content of what is said is only 5 – 20%. Surprising isn’t it?

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.”

Expression, Energy & Emphasis

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 even stopping to think about it. Then I ask people within the group to act out that phrase in any style they choose. The key thing I ask is for 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. We 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 it’s an idea I got from a delegate on a course in Milton Keynes a few years ago. I loved the idea, so I’ve developed it, and now it’s an integral part of the course.

The 4 colour voices

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

Interestingly of all the things we cover on our courses I find the bit about the 4 colour voices one of those that is the most enduring. It 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 here on the contact page.

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.