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Tone Tags: What Are They?

May 03, 20242 min read

Tone Tags: what is a tone tag and how do you use it?

I must admit, I am very new to the world of tone tags and the massive benefits they could have for people who are neurodiverse as well as people who are not! I was introduced to tone tags by an individual who I provide workplace support for, and they explained to me that by adding a tone tag to the end of a sentence, you can mitigate the risk of the tone of a message being misinterpreted by the receiver. 

Tone tags are very simple; it's the addition of ‘/’ followed by the tone you intend the sentence to be read in. To show what an effective addition this is to written communication, here is an example: 

“Good morning, I see you were late for work, is everything okay?"

versus...

“Good morning, I see you were late for work, is everything okay? /caring” 

For a neurodivergent person, who might experience rejection sensitivity, a message without a tone tag could send them into a spiral of worry, thinking that they were in trouble or that they had annoyed their colleague. The simple addition of '/caring' decreases that risk and therefore reduces the levels of stress that would otherwise potentially overwhelm that individual.  

The same effect can be achieved when you want to make a joke or a lighthearted comment, which is something that can be easily misinterpreted over text or email. All you have to do to avoid accidentally causing offense or hurting someone’s feelings is add '/joking' or '/lighthearted' to the end of your sentence. Yes, it really is that simple! 

In a world where communication moves more and more online, the margin for error when it comes to getting your tone across increases, so why not adopt tone tags and see what a difference they can make to the way you communicate online! It really is as simple as that, so there is nothing else to say other than: go on, give tone tags a go and see just how helpful they can be. /encouraging

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