Tone Kills or Cultivates Brainpower!

Watch your tone, or prepare for a fight with cynics the next time a disagreement arises! Have you noticed how highly successful people use  tone to advance their lives and communities? Or how ineffective people clobber brainpower all around them? It’s no coincidence since tone is the fuel that drives interpersonal intelligence toward or away from your targets.

Check out a tone test to see where your skills land you. Are you gaining the dividends you deserve from tactics for good  tone when different views or beliefs arise? Luckily these strategies can be learned by all – so even tone deaf interpersonal people can gain more.

You may spot wicked tone in a person who blames leaders when things go wrong, yet fails to fix problems in his or her own circles. Yet tone tactics to disagree respectfully takes more than recognition of the cynicism, anger, or intimidation that triggers tone’s nemesis.

Successful tone, that builds goodwill takes:

  • Affirming another person’s insights – even before sharing views on the other side. Not that one has to agree, or even value other views especially. Yet tone shows that you heard, considered and valued the person who holds different views.
  • Thanking people for different approaches - and show how you will try a few new methods based on what you’ve learned from theirs.
  • Sharing personal experiences - with respect, so that others would enjoy thinking about together. Rather than a need to replace original ideas presented by others.
  • Asking a 2-footed question - before you offer personal ideas on the topic. For instance, you could ask – “Have you thought about…? What if…? Could another possibility be…?
  • Adding one unique idea to the mix – to inspire with confidence. Make it more a part of an invigorating discussion, than any need to top another person’s points. Whenever you support your own best ideas – with concrete examples, people tend to see more possibilities in what you present.

Bravo – you’ve also just tapped into serotonin that builds good will, as well as mutiple intelligences that sustains it. What tone tips would you add to inspire others to engage more diverse views for genuine solutions?

14 Comments

  1. Conrad says:

    Try to build bridges between disparate ideas. So many arguments are apples and oranges and they never can move toward resolution because both sides choose different dimensions for support of their positions. Neither side actually engages the other. So, if you can find a bridge concept that attaches to both dimensions, it can not only lead toward resolution, it often leads to synergy and that can lead to a better, more creative and supportive outcome than either side could have hoped for in isolation.

  2. eweber says:

    Great metaphor Conrad and thanks! I like to think the skills will exist on at least one side — and it’s obvious to see how they exist on yours. Love the idea of a bridge that cross between two diverse ideas but connects diversity to enable unity on the central things! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. rummuser says:

    As you are aware, I do not work for a living any more but I used the scoring to mean people in my life now rather than co-workers. I scored 142! I would imagine that the same score would have been the case during my working years too.

    Now I know why I was effective most of the time! I wish that I had had inputs like this when I was working. May be I would have been more effective.

    rummusers last blog post..Indian Heroes: The Mangal Deep School For The Mentally Handicapped.

  4. eweber says:

    Andrew you build a great case for creating confidence – and we all need to build this kind of inner courage a day at a time and in places we lack it personally. Great idea to ski – yet I have one brain based suggestion! Build it a step at a time — so your kind can create spaces for the new fuels – and you will not act beyond the skills you are building. In the vernacular — have a wonderfully wild adventure — while staying safe and growing dendrite brain cells for an even wilder one on the hills to follow! Thanks for the inspiration for all of us to take a new and delightful risk in the area of our fears! Enjoy the slopes!

  5. eweber says:

    Bravo Ramana, you are still very much working – in that you are still learning and teaching and testing the “waters” of life in ways that challenge and benefit others!! Thanks for your wit ‘n wisdom in so many unique areas of the mind. Like you, I wished people had converted jargon of the brain’s operations into everyday tactics that use more mental extravagance. Yet. I suppose if I’d seen it well done, I would not have carved out a unique call for my own life’s work:-)

  6. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ellen,

    That sounds like common sense advice, and indeed, I usually do try to get out of my comfort zone one step at a time in bite sized pieces.

    With respect to your above discussion about tone, I am reminded of Dr. David Schwartz book “The Magic of Thinking Big.”

    In this book Dr. Schwartz talks about seeing the bigger picture in arguments, and how in the larger scheme of things, it is usually just as important, if not more important, to maintain and build upon goodwill in the relationship than it is to ‘win’ an argument.

    It sounds to me as though application of the guidelines which you outline above would go a long way toward both communicating your viewpoint in an effective manner whilst preserving and even strengthening the relationship.

    Andrews last blog post..My best blog post of 2008

  7. eweber says:

    Andrew what an interesting angle you tossed at this discussion. Very intelligent people tend to think big we are told, and Dr. Schwartz says it best!

    It’s really a learned skill as far as the brain comes into mind, and each time we are motivated to do as you write here – we literally rewire that fine capability into the brain for more hope of doing well the next time.

    Can you imagine – if people who call for war literally began to move in this way and see bigger picture thinking? Wow — I’m just saying:-)

    Thanks Andrew, for starting our busy day here at the Center – with such a dynamic BIG PICTURE! May yours yield fine dividends:-)

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