Tone for Tonic or Toxins in Tough Times

It happens faster than you can wrap your head around replies, much less pause for peaceful solutions. Tonic or toxin? Poor tone shoots poison at others, and often wings back in the same form it was sent. Have you seen it escalate lately?

Like 8 ounces of Vodka mixed into 2  ounces of orange juice, toxic  communication zaps your amygdala before you can blurt out a decent defense. How so?

He tells you he’s a listener – even advertises it as his tag line on a blog – and then interrupts you constantly on a busy day. You retaliate by ignoring him when he asks a reasonable request.

She insists she’s happy to buy lunch, only to report  later to friends that you’re as cheap as a counterfeit two dollar bill. You retaliate by dropping her her off the list for your holiday extravaganza.

Even the most even-keeled communicator will admit that there are more than a few days when they wonder whether it might be a lot less stressful to hang up their cleats in favor of  more passive roles.

Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence yearly. Like the Vodka hidden in a whisk of orange juice, cruelty often starts with poison tone, and escalates pollutants such as racism – sip by sip. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Like most relationships, not every interaction is filled with peaches and cream.  There are many days when you  wonder whether your words or actions can accomplish anything, and others when you will sense that you just took a bullfrog leap in the wrong direction.

Consider These Less Than Tonic Times:

  • You call a meeting to identify tone skills at work and the aggressive team stays away to avoid the topic.

A Few  Suggestions for Surviving Tough Tone Days:

  • Watch for tone problems around holidays, from people who struggle with intimate or healthy relationships. Set up a contest and offer a reward for the team with top tone skills.

A Bottom–Line from Poor Tone  to Genius:

Not that silver bullets exist for bad tone days, yet the best thing that builds tone is to find solutions that leave no brains behind.  On bad days remind yourself that no human is invincible, and yet all make choices that balance the brain’s angel or devil parts of tone in ways that require evidence in practice.

Rather than mistakenly believe that you can do no wrong, learn and teach tools for tone.  Exchange that sea of cynicism for renewed brainpower that engages voices on the other side of even the most controversial issues.  That’s the tone that fueled Einstein’s brainpower to persist and invent.

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