Why Tonality Matters - As You Say It - Leading NLP Center Malaysia
Charisma As A Business Advantage
April 5, 2019
Trust Header
Trust: The Currency of Relationships
July 23, 2019

There is a simple, powerful, yet often forgotten aspect about the way we communicate. It’s often not on most people’s minds when we think about “better communication”, but it is incredibly effective in changing the way you get your message across.

When I said ‘the way we communicate’, I don’t mean using some cheap little linguistic parlour tricks. Those types of things are the tip of the iceberg and they don’t always work “as long as you say it”. You may have heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. Well, it’s true and the effect of mastering the way you use your tonality goes much deeper than you think.

We seldom think about our own tonality but somehow, we tend to pick up on other people’s tonalities much more easily than we realise. That’s because tonality doesn’t just affect to way a person’s voice sounds, it really affects the other qualities of the message – The emotional content and subtext. It’s naturally communicated in our tonality and other vocal attributes when we talk to people but as I said, we seldom think about it. Believe me when I say, it matters, and it has more power when we communicate in person.

We’re able to communicate an idea with millions of people across the world with a single tweet, but at the exact same time, our ideas and message loses the range of emotional subtext or meaning that naturally comes packaged with what we say. For example, even as you’re reading this last paragraph, you can’t tell exactly if I am speaking with a firm, angry, sad, etc.


Dean Obeidallah, a comedian famously joked about how vocal quality affects perceptions to the message. The message is, “Wait till Friday night. We’ve been planning this for months. People will be talking about it for years!”. You might get the perception that they’re talking about a big fun party IF you imagined the voice and tonality sounded light and excited. However in contrast, you might think the message is about a terrorist attack if the vocal tonality sounded angry and ominous.

Tonality is nothing new to proper communication gurus. However, the importance of this point becomes especially valid in this age of ‘virtual communication’ using chats, emails, calls and even video messages. Over the years, our dependence on these “advanced” forms of communication has unearthed more actual cases that show our ability to actually listen and communicate has actually dulled. To be fair, dependence to obsolete education systems has also played its part – Conditioning most children not to speak out. As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”.


Remember that tonality and vocal style isn’t just some cheap trick that you can abuse or apply as a fix anything solution expecting magical results. It’s an enhancer so the message and audience and context all matter as well. However, if used improperly you’d sound completely unnatural and awkward!

A word of caution. If you’re thinking of just using those patterns to get a temporary gain, you might see some results a few times but ultimately if you don’t think about helping genuinely others, you will lose far more. That’s an instant rapport & deal breaker. And believe me, no amount of skill or gimmicks or will work when you don’t have rapport.

So pay good attention to the way you’re saying things – Tonality, physical expressions, speed, rhythm, quality and choice of words, etc. It’s a powerful and useful skill so it might seem difficult at first, but so any worthwhile skill you learned. The bottom line is that if you don’t become aware of what you’re doing and practicing it now, you’ll always get the same kind of results you’ve always gotten in the way you communicate. To get even better at it, it’s better to experience and learn NLP from a credible source.

For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo® NLP Center.

What Else?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Hello navigo

Do you have free events to attend in the center of kuala lumpur ? Regarding self improvement or any training sessions or workshops .
Best regards

4 years ago
Reply to  Abiri

Hi Abiri. We have responded to your query via email.