Are you like the guy-next-door, the preacher, the best friend forever, the faultfinder, the finger-wagging judge, or somewhere in-between when talking to your audience?
As a business coach, you’re often in the role of guiding your clients in finding better outcomes. In your position, you’ve got multiple opportunities to use your voice to share your ideas, wisdom, shortcuts, and worldview.
How does that come across to your audience? When was the last time you thought about how you sound to others?
Have you considered your tone of voice? Is it something you’ve said that feels like a swarm of crickets just landed in a crowded room when you speak?
Or are they hanging on your every word?
Have you wondered how easy it is for some people to gather people around them gushing with praise while you struggle to get three people together? And then some people are like a teddy bear, soft, warm, and cuddly while you’re cringing because it feels so fake.
Your inner voice is telling you we're not going there.
I have an acquaintance that is a wonderful, warm, and generous person, but he will 'one-up' me or correct me on social media - all the time. You may have one in your life, too; they look for ways to look smart as they correct you in front of others. Mind you; I don't think he realizes what he's doing. I had it pointed out to me to understand how I was doing it as well.
And isn't that the real problem you need to be self-aware? We always need to be dialed in to how we come across to others.
Yes, most of us make social blunders, myself included in this mess. We’ve made someone uncomfortable, tried to look smart, or just became exasperated and blew up, then tried to find a way to walk it back. That could be an art form all by itself, walking back bad choices – right.
Many people speak boldly without a filter; President Trump and Winston Churchill come to mind. Sometimes we need people to speak boldly without a filter because the truth needs a bullhorn. But how effective is that for you?
If you’re a business coach, your tone is the dealbreaker in your written communications. Without visual cues to guide the way, you need to establish a brand tone for others to understand your message.
As the saying goes, seek first to understand then to be understood. Steven Covey
Your brand tone tells the reader what type of person you are. It’s easier to shape your style to appeal to your target audience when you consider your reader first. This is when you need to establish your dream client in your mind or preferably on paper.
I recently listened to a podcast that told the story about a sales pitch made to Sally’s Beauty Supply buying team that had the salesman going crazy. He would recommend a product for the store, and the team would say, nope, Kelly wouldn't like it. He pitched another product; sure, they would love it, again they said nope, Kelly wouldn't like it. Again, he tries with another sure-fire product for their stores, and again they tell him that Kelly wouldn’t like it.
As an experienced sales-professional, he asked why wasn’t Kelly in the meeting if she was so crucial to the purchasing decisions. They shared that Kelly was their avatar. All their decisions were based on what Kelly likes. Kelly, an imaginary person who is their dream customer.
Figuring out your dream clients is critical to your brand. Even if it's a wisp of an idea, without details about their life, you’re flying blind when you’re writing your marketing copy or chatting with them on social media.
You need to know what lights them up, what’s important to them, and what’s their typical day all about. This is your chance to speak to them in the tone of voice that represents your brand. Is it warm, friendly, sensitive, or bold? Your approach needs to convey your understanding of their life.
The words you choose matter.
How do you write as you speak? How do you sound like the confident person you are?
If you’re the best friend or the guy at the bar, you want to take it slow in your communications. A friend would go out of their way to be kind in everything they say and do. Your message would suggest not accuse. You let your friends realize they are wrong on their own. Your writing reflects your confidence in helping – in guiding them.
At the same time, you combine your confidence with power words to build authority. Reaching your dream client with just the right language is a skill that you develop over time.
Most people don’t realize that your written communications can sound masculine or feminine. When you are writing to your dream client, frame your communications in the spirit of their gender. This is the same way major brands advertise to us every day on TV.
Another reason I love to watch TV – the commercials are mini-marketing lessons. For the business person who proudly says they don't watch TV, I would suggest you are missing a free education. The big brands are investing millions of dollars into ads that convert - and those that don't. [We can't have home runs every time.]
Now consider the two sides of this coin when developing your tone; you come across as too strong and critical, while on the other side, you appear wimpy.
If this all sounds confusing, it shouldn’t.
It takes awareness. Listen to the way you speak, write, and communicate in the world. Naturally, we think that we’re speaking as clear as a bell, often we aren’t.
Pause a moment and reflect on your communications. Did they respond the way you expected? Here’s your opportunity to fine-tune your language to reshape it.
Again, it's not about being right or wrong. It's about being understood. To be a powerful influence, you must seek to understand the other person.
Note - I'm talking about ONE person, your dream client. Your 'Kelly' who you frame your world around... her or him.
I love tools and resources. A couple of resources that I use all the time are Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. They won’t fix all your problems, but they will help you organize your information to make it understandable. Making your content simple is far more appealing than fancy words with too many syllables.
Don’t be fooled to think that people are impressed with flowery words with intricate explanations. We’re faced with so much information coming at us that simple messaging is appreciated. You want your reader to absorb your message like a great book, not stop them dead in their tracks trying to understand the complicated concepts you're laying out.
Does that make sense? Ok, keep it stupid simple, KISS. I bet you heard that differently; I know you did. But keeping it stupid simple is not an insult to anyone, just a way of doing life. Simple.
Tip: If you’re having trouble summarizing your thoughts to distill your simple message, change it up. Take it from a different angle. Imagine it another way. Take another point of view. Brainstorm a bit to find the sweet spot for your thoughts.
If you’d like to chat about how to find your brand tone, reach out to me. Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com
In summary: Find your brand tone. Consider the persona you want to present to the world; after all, you can be whomever you wish to be. Nothing is stopping you.
Linda James Bennett; day 19 of 365 days of writing. My mission is to make you a shiny object in the world.