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Watch Your Tone!

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.


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Watch Your Tone!

Although I often concentrate on linguistics revealing our worldviews and the worldviews of others, let’s not ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room called “tone.”

Along with body language, tone has great impact on our communication. Even the lack of tone in e-mail causes its own misunderstandings. Conversationally, you’ve felt how tone affects you. Yelling hits you differently than cooing. The sound itself carries its own energy. Shout at your pet how much you love him or her and watch as they duck or run. Warmly, sweetly coo how much you can’t stand them and they’ll purr or wag their tail. We’re not so far up the ladder from our pets. We share a lot of biology.

Before our cerebral cortex gets a chance to start processing words and language, the carrier waves (sound) have already impacted the flight-fight-freeze parts of our brain (amygdala sends signals to hypothalamus.) If there's congruence between word and tone, we process faster. If there is incongruence, creating as cognitive dissonance, the information is passed to secondary systems. Now we’re trying to figure out which is accurate, and if there’s a threat. All of that extra work takes energy away from processing the initial message. This means the initial message gets diluted and changed by the over-processing (just like food).

We usually maintain congruence in tone and message when we’re being conscious about it. When we’re not, our message can be taken off course. Have you ever experienced somebody snapping at you about something that had nothing to do with you? That extra processing, where you try to figure out why this person is mad at you takes you away from hearing their actual words.

We're probably all guilty of giving as well as receiving that mixed message. None of us is entirely conscious all the time, but we can do better. Enough of our communication gets trashed by our tone to be worthy of attention. We can so easily solve the problem with added consciousness that it becomes almost irresponsible not to do so.

If you want to reach higher altitudes; catapulting your communication and relationship skills, give me a call or email me. We can design a tailored program to fit your needs and desired outcomes. There's no limit to how high you can fly.

     - Ian J. Blei


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Quick Communication Tip:
Take a breath

We tend to escalate things we don't mean to escalate by not paying enough attention to our tone. Fight or flight gets involved when it's really not needed, and it's easy to fix.

1. Before you respond, regardless of the other person's tone, just take a nice long breath. Maybe have a sip of water or whatever you're drinking, and take another long breath.

2. Deliver your message in an even, reasonable, well-modulated tone. You don't need to dramatize anything, and you really want them to hear your actual words.


Ian J. Blei


Resource Links:

Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.


Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!



The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results



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Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.


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