Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Much Does Your Tone Say?

It will come as no surprise to you that I love words; but perhaps it is more accurate to say I love speech.  One speech exercise I like to do to emphasize the importance of tone is to use one sentence-today, I'll use the sentence, "Why did you bring me that casserole?", and I emphasize one word in the sentence each time I say it.  I say, WHY did you bring me that casserole?  I imply that bringing me a casserole was a ridiculous and utterly absurd thing for you to do. This makes you feel stupid.  Why DID you bring me that casserole?  Here it sounds like I am accusing you of having ulterior motives.  You feel defensive.  Why did YOU bring me that casserole?  I may as well just tell you I'd rather be seeing anyone else besides you.  This makes you sad.  Why did you BRING me that casserole?  This sounds like I really mean to say that I think you're a fool for bringing me the casserole when I could have gone to your house to pick it up.  You feel foolish.  Why did you bring ME that casserole?    I obviously don't appreciate your thoughtfulness or your casserole, and I wish you'd give it to someone else.  You feel unappreciated.  Why did you bring me THAT casserole?  I'm being an ungrateful beggar and a chooser.  You feel like your effort was all for naught.  Why did you bring me that CASSEROLE?  I wanted something else, and now I am unhappy.  You feel mad.

This is a fun exercise, but it is also helpful in proving the point that it's not just what you say, but how you say it.

No comments: