I Am Sick of People’s Nasty Voice Tones and Why it is so Damaging at Work and at Home

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2011 | Workplace Issues |

I had the TV on last night (just for the noise company) and caught one of the sitcoms talking about voice tone. A women, I think her name was Whitney, was complaining to her friend that her husband used a nasty tone of voice sometimes when he talked to her. She complained to her friend that she wished that she could secretly record him so he would understand what she was talking about when she complained to him about his voice tone. Whitney commented that her husband always denied he used a snarky voice tone and acted like she was crazy. This rang a bell in my head on many different levels. Of course, I have had the same thoughts myself, so that is why I am sure it caught my attention. In the sitcom, Whitney’s friend, suggested that they set up a secret video cam so they could catch his voice on tape. After several moments of discussion concerning whether or not it was legal, Whitney decided to do it. This was as long as I lasted with the show. I will add that I would never recommend secretly taping someone at work, but other than affecting your family relationships, I don’t think it is illegal to do so at home.

This show reminded me about a very important topic, which is the nasty VOICE TONE.

Many times your voice tone is more important that what you actually say. I have a friend that can tell people the most pointed, many times, most unflattering things about themselves, and they just laugh. Why? Because of the way he says it and the fact that his voice tone is very friendly even loving. Sometimes I have to laugh because if most people told others what he does, they would be slapped or maybe shot. He gets away with it because of how he speaks. He has a very nice voice tone.

I know someone that has a nasty habit of using a very condescending voice tone. Sometimes what he says literally drips with contempt. It is a voice tone that says “Why are you bothering me with something stupid when you know I am very busy.” He doesn’t say that but he might as well say it. The message is sent loud and clear. Because it is so nasty, people just cringe, and grow it expect it. No one says anything and the bad behavior continues. At some point the offender no longer even knows that it is happening. A spin off result of this bad behavior is that communication is hampered with this individual. Others will refrain from having frank conversations with him because they don’t want to risk getting the dreaded VOICE TONE. Candid information is not shared because why would you risk invoking the dreaded VOICE TONE. Most people can beat themselves up without having someone else, with their nasty VOICE TONE, do so.

There are different type of voice tones. One of the worst is the “put down, I’m better than you”, voice tone. But the “dripping with sarcasm” voice tone is another killer. Not so bad is the “smart ass” voice tone, which many times is just being playful. I hate the “I was just kidding why are you getting so upset” voice tone. This is the passive aggressive voice tone. An example of this is a snarky put down comment said in a superior “I was just kidding” voice tone. Writing about these voice tones is enough to get me in a bad mood.

I don’t want to forget to mention the “up tight” voice tone. This is said in a tight forced out way. The lips may be somewhat compressed as the words come out. You know the person is one breath away from saying something they shouldn’t. Another one is the “placate the crazy woman” voice tone. This goes without further comment or I risk getting in a worse mood thinking about this particular voice tone.

Practice this on your friends. Say something tacky, such as “what is with you” in a sweet voice tone and see if anyone cares. But say it in a “dripping with sarcasm” voice tone. What…is….with…..YOU. Be sure and put a condescending spin to the word “YOU”. I rest my voice tone case. And it is said, in a very superior, but nice voice tone.