If you think tone of voice is an ‘airy fairy’ term used by writers and designers, consider this…
Read the statement below, as if you were giving a genuine, heartfelt apology: as the words of someone who has been caught doing something wrong (or at least has to act that way):
“….The committee has recommended that I apologise to the house for my attitude to the commissioner’s inquiry, and I – of course – unreservedly apologise.
I fully accept the recommendations of the committee and thank them for bringing this matter to an end”
Now listen to these words as they were spoken, by Maria Miller:
Whatever she did or didn’t do, the tone used in this apology was surly, churlish, forced – like it was an affront to be asked to do it – and disingenuous.
I got a sense of ‘how dare I be asked to do this?’ and a healthy dollop of arrogance, as in ‘who are they [the public and the committee] to ask me to apologise?’
To my mind, it’s this attempted apology, and the manner in which it was delivered, which made things so difficult for Maria Miller.
I wonder what effect a little humility – a different tone of voice – would’ve had…