Coudal Partners prefers to use a conversational tone in their work. That works for them but is not for everyone. The tone that you adopt in your advertising, website, brochures, e-mails, and phone calls should be a conscious decision. Your organization should be actively deciding how you will talk to people. Are you formal, conversational, informal, respectful, abrupt, curt, glib, irreverent? Do you know how you come across to others? Actively employing a consistent style of communication changes your brand and corporate identity in the eyes of your customers and business partners and can even effect how well your employees do their jobs.
How do you say hello?
Your tone is set from the first words out of your mouth. When a customer enters your store are they greeted with smile, a wave and a hearty “Howdy!”, a formal “How do you do” and a handshake, or sullen stare and a grunt? Was that decided by you or the teenager who is working for you part time? Each organization can take control of interactions with customers and actively set the tone for interactions.
Setting the proper tone can defuse potentially difficult situations. Angry customers can be stopped by a friendly smile from a helpful clerk just as they planned to start yelling. Ill will can become mutual respect simply by altering the tone of a conversation at the beginning.
What is your identity?
Coudal Partners has found its identity using a conversational tone. That same tone may not be as appropriate for Sotheby’s, who relies on their high-class reputation and may want to come across as more formal. Think about your reputation as an organization and how you want others to perceive you. Then make sure that everyone from the CEO to the mail clerk understands how they need to be a part of conveying that image to others. New hires need to be indoctrinated and trained to project the proper tone and image.
Consistency is key
Whatever tone you choose to use it will only be effective if everyone in your organization adopts it in everything they do. If you are a formal organization then your employees should dress formally in conservative business attire. Your stationary should be the parchment rather than colorful confetti paper. Your building should have classic artwork in the lobby rather than motivational posters. Every detail reinforces your tone and identity and anything that is inconsistent will stick out like a biker gang at an opera house.