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Tone

Read about how tone is used in professional communication in this article.
© University of Southern Queensland

Tone is the attitude behind the writing, and it gives more context to the words used by conveying the writer’s mood. It can reveal intention or hide it, and it evokes an emotional response in the reader.

Tone is as diverse as our emotions, as it can convey positive, negative, and neutral feelings. Tones can be appreciative, informal, formal, confused, regretful, neutral, and aggressive. When considering tone, ensure you consider word (or emoji) choice, personal pronouns, punctuation, consistency, honesty, and empathy.

Consider the below sentences. What is the tone of each? Think about how this tone is conveyed.

tone examples

“Tone is what creates the effect of your message on your reader” (Petelin, 2016, p. 43); therefore, to maintain a professional image and reputation, it is essential to maintain a professional tone. While you may feel inclined to mirror the tone of whoever you are conversing with, it is better to remain within the boundaries of professionalism.

To keep your tone professional, you should:

  • Be clear
  • Be polite (use please and thank you)
  • Use the appropriate emphasis (be careful of exclamation marks, as they can be seen as rude if the message is negative)
  • Frame messages with positivity
  • Keep it simple and accessible (avoid using acronyms unless you’re 100% sure the person will know what they are)
Petelin, Rosylyn. (2016). How writing works. Allen and Unwin.
© University of Southern Queensland
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Effective Communication Skills for Professionals

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