Don’t Use That Tone With Me

There were moments growing up when I got sassy with my parents.

They were few and very far between, because, you know…Black parents. But I did try.

If I made a particularly snarky comment, I’d be met with the daddy ““raised-eyebrow-stare-of-death” and a stern “Don’t you use that tone with me!” or “You’d better watch your mouth!”

The message was crystal clear: How I said things mattered. Tone mattered.

In the world of communications, we must always be attuned to tone. We should be continuously listening and looking at the social, political, economic landscape to help us decide whether or not the brand’s tone is appropriate for the moment.

The trial of the ex-police officer who murdered George Floyd takes place next week, and it will certainly inspire the feelings of angst, frustration and deep sadness we experienced last May.

As you develop communications, it may be wise to avoid pom-poms and promos. Resist the urge to use ill-fitting exclamation points (I’m serious). “Watch your mouth” and ensure the tone matches the moment. Messaging matters, but how you deliver it is critical.



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