Experts say that the tone you use easily outweighs what you say. People will remember or interpret your tone over the content.
I can still recall my mum’s “mad voice” from childhood; decades later I’m over-responsive to a harsh tone and tend to use a “teacher voice” when testy. How Freudian. (An aside: my brother gets these emails – Dave, no dobbing.)
Fact is the way you speak to your family, friends and colleagues becomes ingrained by repetition, so the more you yell, bluster, lecture or mumble, the less someone will hear your point beyond your tone. It’s worth practising clear, neutral or positive framing of your message if you want people to respond appropriately.
It’s hard to recalibrate how you automatically speak but it matters if you care about how you communicate. I try to stop and count a few beats when I’m rushed or annoyed, just to let my brain catch up and overtake my mouth. It’s a better option than having to apologise post-blurt. My funny example – years ago at a busy street corner I yelled in exasperation at my dog: “Sit DOWN!” and turned to see both him and my then 2-year-old sitting, anxiously awaiting instruction. Not my best work.