Tenor in Email Communication

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Hello everyone and thank you for coming.
Today we will be discussing “tenor” in workplace emails. We will: 1) explain what tenor and how it is reflected in workplace emails, 2) why using proper tenor in the workplace is important, and 3) provide tips as to how you can successfully determine tenor for use in your own workplace emails. (First Slide)

What is tenor? Tenor is the tone of a form of communication that reflects the relationship between the speaker and their audience. In regards to email, it is the relationship between the writer and their recipient. Every person uses different forms of tenor on a daily basis, whether they are in the work place, at home or even with friends. Tenor is present in an email and can be reflected in a number of ways. It is most evident in the formality of the speech used and the words chosen in the communication of ideas. However, the tenor of an email can also be affected by the subject matter of an email. More serious or pressing issues often call for a more formal use of tenor. (Second Slide)

Why is tenor important? Tenor is an important element of workplace communication for a number of reasons. Firstly, the tenor used in an email demonstrates one’s level of respect for who they are speaking to. In the workplace, it reflects the level of respect one shows for their superior, co-workers or even direct reports. This is evident in the politeness and mannerisms displayed in the email. Calling your friend “dude” may be normal in their company, but calling your boss the same may be taken as offensive or undermining. Secondly, tenor can display your dedication or seriousness about issue. While some subjects may discussed light-heartedly, such as an office event, while other require more a serious tone, such as discussing grievances or personal absences. Mistaking tenor in the workplace can have a number of negative effects. It could possibly damage your work relationships and create tension in the workplace, reduce the...
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