• Colin Huntley

"Watch Your Tone" - Advice We Overlooked

I've been noticing something in the world lately - something rarely talked about, yet potentially more crucial to getting along with people than literally anything else.


Yes, tone - the way you speak, behave, carry yourself, and live. I plan to give you a compelling explanation as to why, but it seems to me the defining characteristic of a like-able person and a life well lived is the quality of tone in which that life is lived.

Don't believe me? Ask Canon in D.

This link right here is 'Canon in D' performed on a digital midi controller for educational purposes. This link right here is 'Canon in D' performed by a skilled cellist and pianist.

Note for note, each of these renditions of this song are identical. There's no difference whatsoever on paper. But somehow the latter is moving in a way the former is not. The latter is memorable, emotional, connective, and vibrant. The former is, well... it is what it is. It certainly isn't moving. It certainly isn't beautiful. Recognizable? Sure. Comparable? Sure. But still, it's stale and sanitized.

Need another example? How about acting? Why is it that one actor can 'bring the words to life' and another can't? It's tone. Two actors can read the same words off of a page. One will be magic, and the other will be a snooze fest. Tone is essential.

The same thing can be said of your life. The words that you say in a job interview matter so little in the grand scheme of things. The employer is searching their gut for your qualifications. They're looking at the glimmer in your eye more than they're analyzing your words. You'll hardly remember anything said to you on a first date, nor will your date remember anything you said. But you can be sure that you'll remember the way the person looked at you. You can be sure you'll remember the way that you felt, and so will they.

Our lives are the sum of the way that we feel and make others feel. Very little of that has to do with the content of our words, but with the context and conviction. So the old adage "watch your tone" was not just Mom badgering us. It's sage advice. Take time to consider how you live, not just what you live. Watch how things change.