I do volunteer work with a group called I Run 4 (read more here), which pairs runners with special needs adults and child buddies. Since I do the matches, I get emails from both buddies and runners asking all sorts of questions.
Most of the emails are polite and cordial, but the other day, I got one that said, “”Hi I signed up more than a year ago. Could you please tell me what happened?”
I was a little taken aback at the abrupt and accusatory tone, and when I checked, I did not see this person on any list or find any sign that they had done anything other than join the closed Facebook group, which meant they did not follow the directions on how to sign up. As the exchange continued, the tone got more abrupt and rude, which I have to admit, made it difficult for me to continue.
Conversations like that remind me how important it is to pay attention to my tone with others, no matter what else is going on in my life. It’s important to stay positive and upbeat, and not get upset or negative whether I’m in a store, talking with a co-worker, or answering the phone. Getting loud or upset never helps and usually puts people off. It is much easier to get answers and solutions when you are working “with” people instead of working against them.
Sometimes I find I need to pause before I speak – or hit send – and make sure that my tone is pleasant.
How do you make sure you are approaching an interaction with the right frame of mind?