When we communicate with others, it’s obviously important that we create an environment that allows the message to be heard – the right message. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s easy to forget that every communication gets translated by the recipient, not only for literal content, but most importantly, for tone. Use the wrong tone in communicating, and the message gets lost.
It’s easier to communicate the right tone in face to face conversation since we have the benefit of direct observation, which allows us to recognize subtle hints in body language, facial expressions, and so on, than it is in written communication.
Written language can often be more complicated than verbal, and what we intend to say can easily be interpreted in ways that were unintended. If I think you’re calling me an idiot (and you may not be), I’m certainly not going to listen to what you have to say.
So, while you may be convinced that you are saying what you mean to say in an email, the recipient may be reading something entirely different – something that’s not intended.
It might surprise you to learn that studies show email messages are interpreted incorrectly 50% of the time. And, the culprit is almost always the tone of the message as interpreted by the recipient.
From a business perspective it’s obviously important that you not be misunderstood; that the email recipient clearly understands what you mean to say.
To ensure your emails are constructed in a way that miscommunication is reduced or eliminated, a check system of some sort would be an ideal solution. You could have an unbiased co-worker check your emails for tone, for example or, you could take advantage of a recently released free beta product, ToneCheck being offered by Lymbix. ToneCheck identifies and flags emotionally charged sentences within your email message.
The following graphic illustrates ToneCheck in action.
Tone Editor helps you adjust and preview the emotion in your message before sending.
Tone Alert flagging device notifies you upon pressing “send” when an e-mail falls outside your acceptable tone tolerance. Adjust or ignore? It’s up to you.
Tone Tolerance allows you to choose your acceptable tone tolerance, and customize your settings in the configuration panel for more or less sensitivity.
Ease of Access Add-in installs within your existing e-mail client without the need for additional software.
Works with: Microsoft Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010.
Note: According to ToneCheck, they are developing versions for Apple Mail, Gmail, and Thunderbird.
Sign up for an account and download at: ToneCheck
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20 responses to “Take The Emotion Out Of Your Emails With Free ToneCheck Beta”
This one calls for a comment, indeed. “Ease of Access Add-in installs within your existing e-mail client without the need for additional software”. (quote from the download site). Herein lies the rub. It requires the use of an e-mail client, which means that you can’t avoid downloading spam and other malicious e-mails. Therefore, I strongly recommend not to use any e-mail client in the first place, but to rely on webmail exclusively, so that e-mails are not downloded on the client’s computer, and to forego ToneCheck for the time being. Security is more important than tone, as long as one can’t have both.
All the best
On a broad basis, you’re comment makes sense; for those users who have a choice. Not everyone has this choice however. Some 30% or so, of visitors to this site arrive directly from enterprise. Most, I suspect do not have this choice.
As well, I’m not supportive of using brush strokes to suggest security is more important than the tone of an email. Security and application usage need not be mutually exclusive.
If the survey that indicates 50% of email messages are interpreted incorrectly is to be believed, this is hardly a problem that can be ignored. Any application that attempts to address this issue, should be given careful consideration, in my view.
Nice find and very much needed. I am currently trying to put together a piece about this very sort of thing and how people use email (in the business) environment as a tactic to avoid the “face to face” interaction.
Yes, I agree. Any application that improves the ability to communicate in the way the writer intended (particularly in business), should be looked at closely.
Having had experience in consulting to enterprises where miscommunication was an issue (not an unusual scenario), I’m familiar with the bottom line consequences of not taking corrective action.
Looking forward to your article.
I have a choice and I don’t use Webmail. Webmail is rife with problems in my opinion. I’ve been using Thunderbird for years and I have never had a problem.
Many of my friends use Hotmail, Gmail etc., and have had all sorts of issues to deal with.
In my experience it’s not the application as much as it is the inexperience, and carelessness, of the application user.
Thank you for commenting. Your comment brings forward another side of this issue.
Hi Bill ~ My ditty for today
“Pen’n’Ink makes them think”
That’s very cool Nightjar. You’re a man with the soul of a poet. 🙂
Thanks for the interesting information.
Until then you can not go on this page My ID Score – is probably overloaded or other technical reason, but I will try.
Unfortunately, My ID Score is only available to US residents.
Good to hear from you.
This is a funny but really useful app! lol
Are you sure that’s the message you want to get across. 🙂
I thought that this software was a pretty cool idea. I am sure we all know someone who could use this software as their tone comes off a bit too harsh 🙂
I hear ya. Sometimes I can get a little “tone” deaf, so this application is good for me. 🙂
Good to hear from you BTW. Hope all is well with you.
email makes ’em attack
flame & battle & denigrate
Another poet in out midst. Good one Dar.
Thanks for information.
@ dar ~ 🙂
I noticed Bill that Tech Thoughts for today includes a link to this:
I’m sure this is no coincidence
No coincidence. This is an area in which I’m not up to par – not even close. 🙂