What tone of voice do you use?
Are you a naysayer or a visionary?
Your tone of voice shapes how people receive your ideas.
When you practice thought leadership, you’re asking people to suspend their current beliefs.
You’re asking them to consider new ideas.
And that’s not easy for them to do.
Tone of voice becomes essential for thought leadership.
It’s a way for you to cut through the clutter.
Over the past two decades, I’ve seen many different tones of voice used for thought leadership. Some of them were quite effective:
✅ Naysayer — “this is wrong!”
✅ Contrarian — “this won’t work”
✅ Socratic questioner “what *could* we do differently?”
✅ Advocate — “let’s use ‘x’ instead!”
✅ Visionary — “let’s take a fresh start!”
Each of these can work. And there are many more.
But there’s one tone of voice that rarely–if ever–works.
And that’s Bureucratic.
Bureucratic tones suck the life out of thought leadership.
Bureucracy kills good ideas.
It signals “don’t read this!”
So, what tone of voice do you/your org use to share insights?
Was it a conscious choice?
Is it working?