300 Seconds: Do You Hear that Smile?

Have you ever noticed that the tone of an electronic mail or text message is dependent on the recipient’s interpretation? If we’re in an odd mood, we can sometimes detect things that are just not there.

There’s slight improvement when we switch to phone communication. Although we can’t see the person with whom we’re speaking, tone can be detected. A pitfall might be what’s happening in the room that the caller cannot see. Maybe you just opened a box of damaged books. Or perhaps you realized you forgot to place an order. The caller doesn’t know or understand the circumstances surrounding their call, they just hear the irritation.

And while face-to-face communication is best, it’s easy to forget that while we are working in the store–especially when task at hand does not require customer interaction–we are being observed.

Today, take a few seconds (which will add up to 300 throughout the day) and think about tone. Read an email back to yourself to hear if it sounds clipped before you push send. Think about how you look as you’re shelving books–irritated or approachable? And remember to take a breath and smile before you answer the phone. These efforts will be noticed.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay