Commandment 5 – Watch Your Tone, Young Lady!

Have you ever had a time where someone has been so falsely nice that you feel like you’ve been licked with sugar? Or have you had a disagreement with a friend or colleague and you get to a point where they say, “Sure, everything is ok, no worries,” but you just know that’s not true? We respond to more than just the words someone says to us. And likewise, they respond to us.

Commandment #5 is Watch Your Tone. Be mindful of the overtones and underlying intention because we can say all the correct things but leave our audience scratching their heads or worse, shaking their heads.

Whenever I think of the phrase “watch your tone,” I think of my mother when I would be a little sassy. She would tell me, “Watch your tone, young lady.” The reminder serves me well because I still get sassy sometimes, and when I do it is an indicator that I have let something get in the way of my best behavior.

We have a choice of how we respond, how we behave, how we “show up,” whatever you want to call it. The moment that we respond from a place of anger, frustration, resentment, overwhelm, comparison (the list goes on) is the moment that we have dishonored our audience, our colleague, our friends and family. They know, you know, when someone is communicating with us from that place! It feels like a sugar lick or a cold shoulder without any particular words being said.

Take action when you notice the anger, frustration, overwhelm, and pause to regroup. It’s a moment well spent considering the result you want to produce by having the communication. Chances are that you want to make progress, to be a well-respected professional or loving family member, to be a contribution in some way, not to be snarky, sugary, passive, angry, gossipy or just plain old mean.