Tone Turns Down the Heat

Today, I arrived home late to discover a bill marked OVERDUE PAYMENT from Verizon Wireless for their broadband service I tried at their request and then returned a few days later. Yikes! The free trial ad had clearly touted an invitation to try their service free of charge for 30 days – and I tried it for 3 only, before deciding it would not be right for my own wireless equipment. All was well when I returned the materials and I was given a full refund for my $54.00 dollar deposit. Or at least I thought all was well and that the refund would stick. 

Bill in hand, I felt my amygdala heat up as I’d returned the trial offer weeks ago, and now the faulty bill was stating an overdue balance. I tried to call and discovered Verizon had closed for the day. Why do you do when panic strikes,  an error hits without notice, or you encounter misunderstandings?

Do you mistrust the motives of another person? In light of all the greed and deception of big business, for instance, it would be easy for me to fear that Verizon expects customers to pony up, even for what was dubbed a free trial.

Luckily I’ve had time to step back, prepare my receipts and deliberately select the tone tactics I will use to resolve this mistaken bill thoughtfully and without anger.

Here are a few facts about tone tactics that could help you address conflicts you encounter:

1. Disagreement becomes an art to draw together differences, whenever tone acts as a mixer.
2. Stress is disabled by good tone, the way a computer virus is blocked by an anti-virus.
3. Venting, is nuked by good tone, with patterns for more venting  cut from the basal ganglia.
4. Good tone exchanges masks, and meta messages for mental well-being and dignity.
5. A thoughtful response stimulates a synapses for serotonin and successful solutions.
6. Careful words inspire change with adventures for growth in oneself and prosperity.
7. Tone heaps laughter at  little things, and makes space to repair more urgent problems.
8. Healthy tone  tend to foster positive results and rewire the brain for more of the same
9. Tone zips people past daily problems that hold most unsuccessful people back.
10. Positive tone tosses reflection into the ring as reminders to run from cynicism or blame.

Because poor tone hamstrings people to confusion and cortisol triggers more conflict, I’ve decided to use good tone tactics when I approach Verizon sales department in the morning. Not only do I suspect we’ll quickly move into a solution, but negative tone will not dash toxins into the dawn of a new workday.

Can you think of a disagreement where tone moved you past being torqued, by turning down the heat?

5 Comments

  1. Ellen, you are a model! What a great way to approach a problem when you feel your blood pressure rise. It’s like taking a steaming pressure cooker off your burner. Wonderful post and I look forward to hearing your outcome.

    Robyn McMasters last blog post..Envy Curtails Productivity

  2. eweber says:

    What a wonderful metaphor, Robyn, thanks for adding a cool adventure to my decision! Now I am seriously looking forward to sharing the results of my experiment, with good tone, in the face of serious errors.

  3. eweber says:

    It worked! They were glad to fix the error shortly after my early morning call. More importantly, my day started with a resolution that followed good tone and left me ready to create and enjoy the adventure of my day! Tone rocks!

  4. vreddy says:

    great post. couldn’t agree more.

    Steven Covey calls these “small victories” and they help people setup themselves for bigger victories.

  5. eweber says:

    Steven Covey used great tone and taught its benefits — good point Vreddy. Tonight I have a board meeting and I know a few on the board will waste a great deal of time – through making their points with poor tone skills:-) Yikes!

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