The way we communicate in the workplace has drastically changed. Much of our communication happens via email, instant message, and even Twitter updates. With the increased use of non-direct communication, it's becoming more important to identify the tone we convey in an email or written message. When you don't speak to someone face-to-face, you don't have the benefit of seeing the body language that happens during the conversation. Body language is a huge part of communication: Up to 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. That's a lot of communication to be missing when we're not face-to-face. With the telephone, we can at least hear the pitches and inflections a person uses while speaking. When voice is taken away, words become tone deaf.
How many negative e-mails have you noticed at work? Some people might claim to not have the time to really think about what they write in an e-mail (which would be a little irresponsible—especially in a work setting where communication is so important). But this seems to be a common line of thought due to the nature of e-mail. E-mail is all about fast communication, but it should also be about effective communication. Even when we are trying to be positive, e-mails can come out sounding wrong. Chief executive and co-founder of Lymbix, Matt Eldridge, was having a problem writing e-mails in the tone he was trying to convey. Instead of sounding excited, for example, he sounded pushy. So Eldridge went on a search for a solution.
Eldridge's company, Lymbix, created a new program called ToneCheck. ToneCheck identifies the phrases and words in an e-mail that give off a negative tone. Currently ToneCheck is only available for Microsoft Outlook, but is in development to be used on other e-mail providers, such as Hotmail and Gmail. Businesses can purchase ToneCheck and create a company tone threshold, resulting in employees communicating (at least via e-mail) in a more positive light. This product could be perfect for fast-paced people. It could help people to slow down and really think about what they write. Maybe that's the key to effective communication: just slow down and think about what you say. I myself get rushed and could probably benefit from this tool at work. How about you?