The Rationalist Presents: A Pondering on Communication: The Right Tone of Voice/Mode of Speaking To Use While Arguing, Correcting Someone or Selling Your Idea.
We are called 'Homo Sapiens', that's what our specie (man) is called. 'Homo' is an ancient Greek word meaning 'man' and 'Sapien' comes from an old Latin word meaning 'Wise'. Thus, we humans are perceived, expected and are supposed, to be 'wise'.
We are supposed to apply logic, wisdom, ration, or simply put: good thinking, in all we do. Not just because we call ourselves Homo Sapiens though, but also because good thinking brings solutions to the most of our problems, it leads us to doing the right things and getting the right results. It is through good thinking that we have made use of natural resources to create every great thing we have and enjoy today from spoons to phones to cars to rockets - everything!
So good thinking is really important. It is on this note that I don't shy or cower away from trying to apply good thinking to every topic of life. It is on this note that I try to apply good thinking to every single thing we do in life and it is on this note that you too should accept that good thinking be applied to everything.
Arguing, suggesting, putting forth our ideas, correcting people are very common things we do regularly.
We are all filled with opinions, ideas, perceptions; we have our own ways of doing things and seeing things. Very often we find ourselves with someone or people who have different ideas and perceptions from our own and who see things differently from the way we do, and we find ourselves in an argument with them where we try to buttress our views and show that ours is superior.
Or sometimes it may not be an argument, it could be we find someone or people doing something we consider wrong and we want to immediately let them know that what they're doing is wrong and they shouldn't do it again.
Or it could just be that we're out on social media or on a write up of ours or addressing an audience, trying to criticize some ideas or way of doing things or anything at all. This is now usually called "ranting". It could be we just want to do this; just whatever the case is these are very common occurrences and they mean a lot to many of us.
When we're about to do any of the above things we might be confronted with making the decision of 'what tone do I use?' 'Do I go off on a ranty tone?' 'Do I sound harsh and angry?' 'Or do I rather sound soft/calm/kind/therapeutic?'
Even if you're not confronted with this decision to make at least you do make use of one of these tones or both of them on different occasions. Sometimes you're harsh while airing your views and other times you're gentle. Sometimes you choose the tone you use deliberately and other times you just talk based on how you feel at the moment, the occasion or the kind of people you're talking to.
The question of the day is what tone is the right and most effective tone to use since effectiveness is our major aim while putting forth our view. We want our messages to be passed and we want it to stick and achieve it's aim. Right? So what tone does this best?
I have found that more often than not we like to resort to the harsh/angry/imposing tone. This is usually because of our temper and our getting irritated at a different idea or view that we do not hold and that conflicts with that which we hold. This failure to conform with what we consider right has the tendency to spark anger in us making us resort to talking angrily and rantily.
The urge to let out our anger can be so strong and might become the only thing that matters to us in our heads. Sometimes we might feel like we should take it easy, and that the soft tone might be more appropriate/effective but the urge to show our anger, the urge to belittle a contradicting opinion, the urge to show the other that he is so wrong and it stinks and he should never have thought of it in the first place, and unconsciously sometimes: the urge to shame/scare the other into dropping their views for ours.
But as we should find, the soft gentle tone is more courteous, friendly, loving and most wantedly: effective! Talking to someone angrily has a higher tendency to come off as disrespectful and hostile. It also has the tendency to spark off a defensive stance from the other person, an urge to strike back rather than see reason with what you're saying.
Also it is worthy of note that the person whose view you're trying to change believes in his view arguably as much as you believe in yours and if you feel angered at a contradictory view the greater chances are that person feels angered too and wants to show it as much as you do. It has been rightly said in the Bible that:
A soft reply turns away wrath
A harsh reply surely increases wrath,
But grievous words stir up anger
and an angry person is not really in a position to think properly in order to agree with you. At least not in the position as much as someone who isn't angry would be.
Let us look at a scenario:
One night at the barbershop while the results of the country's presidential election was airing on screen, a little 10 year old boy after his haircut was watching it with four grown ups. One of the grown ups told ten year old boy that this was no place for children as he doesn't see what could interest the kid about election results; and that the kid should leave.
I'm of the opinion that kids should be encouraged not to have political apathy at a young age and so I was not happy with this grown up for saying that to the kid and asking him to leave. I wanted to tell this grown up harshly that he was wrong and he shouldn't say such to the kid and that the kid is going nowhere, he'll watch if he wants to! Don't raise up kids to apathetic!
But I wanted my message to stick and be more effective, so instead of adopting harshness which is not courteous or loving and which would have probably sparked more harshness from the other party and cause further disagreement or even if it doesn't do any of these and the guy agrees with me would the guy then hold my opinion from then on and become an advocate?
So in order for me to get more effectiveness, I smiled, told the kid to stay for a moment and used the soft tone to explain to this guy how I understand that he doesn't see watching these results as important to the kid and that's why he thinks the kid should leave, I told him that this is wrong because this would encourage political apathy in this kid and how bad political apathy can be, how most of us already have it and why it should change
He agreed with me completely! I'm even sure from then on he'll hold my idea and probably go-to some lengths to advocate for it
Now, let's forget about the fact that he agreed with me, let's focus on the fact that a soft tone is more effective as it first shows the other party respect and relevance and keeps their temper low enough to reason with you.
If you do not have enough logical arguments to put out softly then you're probably not supposed to be airing that view as you lack sufficient logic to be convinced of the view.
Finally let us take note that the very calm/soft understanding tone is that which therapists and counselors use. These professionals are versed in psychology so this tool should be that which psychology has deemed most effective in getting views accross to people.
Therefore everytime you want to put forward your view note that softness is more effective. It may be hard suppressing your temper rising due to the brazen 'wrong' you have sighted but it is very important you calm the temper and come off more calm and reasonable.
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