Smooth Talkers Aren’t Necessarily Good at Communication

In any type of communication, you have both “voice” and “tone”; voice being the quality that is uniquely you even when you employ a different tone for a different audience. Most people use the same tone to communicate to everyone. They feel that they need to be consistent no matter whom they are talking to, because they assume that the tone represents who they are. They do not want to be seen as a phony chameleon. But tone is just a tool to achieve a certain effect in our communication; it is voice that represents who we are. Generally, most people assume that when someone has a gentle or smooth tone to speak to everyone, he must be good at communication. This is not true. It could simply mean that he is a one-trick pony and he has no idea how to use a different tone to achieve a different effect. The real question is whether the person is able to choose an appropriate tone for a specific communication goal he has. Steve Jobs, for instance, was notoriously abrasive to everyone around him, but was quite good at achieving his goals through a variety of communication mediums (visuals, tactile, writing, speech, advertising, PR, stage theatrics, etc..). He understood people very well, and he knew exactly what tones he had to employ to achieve his goals.