The Yellowstep Team By The Yellowstep Team • February 17, 2016

Effective Communication and Tone Of Voice Beyond the Marketing World


As a marketer, you appreciate the importance of effective communication. Otherwise, you get lost in all the noise that your competitors generate, and you fail to reach your target audience. But there are excellent examples of tone of voice and effective communication everywhere in day to day life. In this blog, I look at some of the places I find impactful messages.

When you're speaking to your audience, prospective or acquired, you know you need to speak in the way that resonates with them, in order to:

  • Build trust and show that you know your onions
  • Prove your empathy regarding the problem you profess to solve
  • Ensure they understand the value of your solution

Now, if I'm running a market stall selling fruit and veg, I'm not going to preach on the chemical makeup of an aubergine. I'm going to point out that it's tasty, good value, and healthy. I'm going to tell people the benefits in the terms that they all understand rather than just the minority.

As well as appreciating a good slogan on a poster or subject on an email, you can find good examples of communication everywhere. Here are some examples that I've taken notice of:

Life Coaching

Tony Robbins is a world renowned performance coach, working with everyone from Quincy Jones to Andre Agassi to Joseph Bloggs. He helps people to develop new approaches to different aspects of their lives in order to take control of and improve their relationships, working life, financial situation (or more accurately relationship with money) and overall levels of life satisfaction.

Ultimately, what he says isn't totally new, mysterious or hard to understand.Through presentation that involves animation, emotional delivery and anecdotes, he helps you understand what your true goals are and why you have them, in order to prioritise and dedicate the necessary focus to the things that really matter to you.

Sign Language

As can be seen in this example, British Sign Language (BSL) is a very efficient adaptation of the English language. It removes words deemed unnecessary to the message such as to, the, a, you, and constructs sentences in an order that would sound strange if used in a spoken conversation.

As well as streamlining the words used, where the physical voice uses tone and intonation to carry emotion, sign language uses facial expressions and body language. When you see this in full swing of conversation, it's a magnificent adaptation of common Western communication.

Music Lyrics

There are many arguments over who the best rappers are, and this is judged on many things. But for me, someone who really knows how to communicate effectively is Ice Cube. Cube found a way to articulate his frustrations as a black teenager in Los Angeles in the late 1980's through the lyrics he wrote and performed for the rap group NWA.

NWA's story of political imbalance, police brutality and life on the streets of Compton captivated America's youth. The vocabulary was simple, the delivery articulate and spaced out which added gravitas, and made the message highly emotional.

Sports Coaching

If you've been involved in any sports clubs over the years, you'll likely have seen a coach go through the finer nuances of a technique, be it heading a football, doing front crawl, or hitting a golf ball.

Good coaches can translate techniques into concepts that resonate with their students, irrespective of age or education level. My jujitsu coach uses all manner of references, from Elvis Presley's dance moves to a scene in The Simpsons Movie to help make a technique stick in your mind. Also, through starting coaching training, I've seen first hand the difficulty of keeping children engaged & focused, using the right amount of positive reinforcement but also the right amount of discipline.

If you keep your eyes and ears open, you will observe a lot of effective communication on your travels. Notice how effective the right choice of words and order can be, and keep that in mind when you write. If you're composing content for marketing, what's going to make someone open the email/click the link? What's going to keep them reading beyond the first sentence? Beyond the first paragraph? What's going to make them click the link? Or convert?