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Your tone of voice matters whilst communicating.

For young children, one of the first forms of communication is the ability to pick up on cues from adults. These include things such as touch, smiling, raised or frowned eyebrows which are all non verbal cues. Other cues can be verbal, with the child recognising small changes whilst interacting, like inflection and the tone of voice from the person talking. Intonation is extremely important when human beings interact with one another and tells us more about the topic rather than just the words used.

Surprising to some, only 10-15% of our messages are perceived by the words used, therefore the intonation is important as well other non verbal cues such as body language.

Intonation is the inflection of a persons voice, which determines how a messaged is perceived, by how they say something, the manner, the pitch and speed such as how fast or slow it is said. Not only does the tone influence how others see you, but it also has a big influence as to whether they want to listen to you. Some people may use words that communicate a certain message but a tone that can mean something totally different. (EG Sarcasm)

Have you ever received or sent a text message to someone and it has been misunderstood? It is very easily done and is one of the reasons people in business tend to discuss things in person as oppose to emails as the tone cannot be determined in written form. It can cause all types of issues!

Intonation is needed when talking to children especially in their early years. Babies who are even just a few months old respond to a change in voice. Evidence has shown that infants would prefer to hear a story read by their own mother as oppose to another female who they are not familiar with. An individuals voice is an integral part of human interaction and communication.

I am fortunate enough to have 2 Cockapoo dogs, Hendrix and Harper. Now if I’m at home and call one of them over for things like fuss, dinner or to go out to the back garden, I tend to just call them in a soft calming manner. However, if we are on a walk at the lake by my home, they are off their lead and decide to attempt to jump in the lake, my tone of voice changes significantly and I become louder and more stern. Most of the time, they respond positively!

So it just goes to show, intonation is imperative not only with children, but adults and animals like our furry friends. What you say it not as important as how you actually say it!

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