Advanced Tonality


Alright, so … I’ve never really been one to subscribe to the idea of, like … “positive energy” and being all optimistic and stuff …

I mean, most people who know me know that I’m typically pretty quiet and reserved for the most part … but as I’ve studied more of this neuroscience stuff, I’m coming to realize that there may be some truth to all that “positive energy” stuff.

As I’ve learned more about the different parts of the brain and what they do … I’ve learned that, like … how it’s just … very possible … to set people off with something as simple as our tonality.

But on the flipside, I’ve also learned that purposefully using the right tonalities at the right places and doing something as simple as … raising the inflection at the end of a sentence? …

Like, doing stuff like that will literally send signals to the subconscious mind of the person you’re communicating with and it’ll get them to be … immediately more agreeable?


But … by doing stuff like this, they’ll at least be OPEN to hearing out … whatever idea you’re proposing, instead of being immediately closed off and skeptical.

And I can always appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism, too, like … I didn’t believe this stuff either when I first learned of it … but once I fully grasped it … in fact, shoot … I’ll tell you a story about this real quick:

I was working a sales gig a few years back … doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter what the product or service or industry was.

Just know that, as a sales rep there, I was responsible for taking a lead from 1st Contact to Close, and it was ALL OR NOTHING. We also had no marketing, so we had to cold call from a database full of thousands of leads who had been beaten up by this company for years.

So needless to say, it was a cold, cruel world … but the commissions were uncapped so there was decent earning potential.

And I sold there, too … but not as much as I would’ve liked … and the Sales Director, a great guy named Dave Milo, would offer coaching to whoever actively sought it.

And I don’t remember the day exactly … so let’s just say it was Wednesdays … but like, one day a week, on Wednesdays … he’d offer to be in an hour early and have bagels and donuts for whoever wanted to come in early for coaching, so I took him up on it one day.

So, I scrambled, got the kids to school early and made it in, I’m in the conference room with a bunch of other people, I’ve got a bagel, and Dave asks: “Who wants to go first?”

And I’m like, “Right here Dave … let’s do this,” … and he pulls a call up.

It’s playing through the speakers for everyone to hear, and I don’t mind … but he only played like, the first 5 seconds or so … then stopped it.

Then he pulls up another call and listens to the first … maybe 7 or 8 seconds or so, then stops that one.

Then he pulls up another call and listens to the first maybe … 5 or 6 seconds or so … and meanwhile, I’m just getting … agitated.

And I’m not saying it, but I’m thinking … like … what sort of meaningful feedback are you going to give me if you’re not even listening to a whole call? I scrambled and got the kids to school early and came in an hour early for this?

Like, I’m kinda insulted here … what’s going on?

And then, after three or four calls or so, maybe five … Dave stops and he says to me:

“… Tom … I’ve got some bad news for you …”

… I sat there for a second, just kinda shocked, then said: “Alright, Dave … hit me … what’ve we got?”

And he’s like … “Nah, man … that’s what you sound like!” and he gets all excited. “You sound like you’re about to deliver some bad news!”

And I’m like … “… I’m just trying to be as professional as possible …” all defensively.

“Yeah, I get it,” he says … “but lighten up. You sound like you’re about to say something like, ‘I hate to be the one who informs you’ or … like, you’re knocking on someone’s door and telling’em ‘I’m so sorry … I just hit your dog … I think he’s dead.’”

And the room lit up, people are laughing, and … I was slightly embarrassed … but a lightbulb went off.

You see, Dave didn’t explain anything about neuroscience or “positive energy” or anything like that, but I got it … I understood what he was saying.

You see, at that job we’d cold-call 200 people a day … to hopefully get 10 of’em to speak with us … to hopefully get 4 of’em to agree to a follow-up appointment for a demo … to hopefully get 2 of’em to actually show up … to hopefully get 1 of’em to close … I mean, it was a GRIND there.

We’d get hung up on left and right, or people just wouldn’t answer … so when a person actually did answer, we kinda just … expected … to get yelled at and hung up on …

So it was normal to get in the mindset of expecting that it wasn’t gonna go well and we’d go into the calls just bracing for the impact.

You see, I was saying the right words, but I was saying them the wrong way. And the greeting was really simple there …. In fact, I took with me and I’ve used this at several organizations now.

It went: “Hi-yes, Name?” with upward inflection at the end of the person’s name.

“But that’s not me,” I said, when learning this … “I don’t speak like that. I’m not Mr. Optimistic, Cheery, Mr. Cheerleader-guy.”

So, I’m as skeptical as it comes when trying new things and really, I just thought it didn’t really make a difference, so I just kept doing what I was used to.

My greetings were going: “Hi-yes, Name … with flat or even downward inflection, but after Dave gave me that feedback, the lightbulb went off and really, that was a game-changer for me.

I mean, think about it … something that simple … I trained myself to nail that upward inflection on the greetings, and … I’d even conduct myself with my hand, like this … “Hi-yes, Dave?” and … I even had a yellow sticky-pad with it on my monitor …

and here’s what it does:


You: Hello?

Me: Hi-yes, Dave?

You: Yes?

Me: Hey Dave! This is Tom … calling over from … Wherever? And I’m just … (and then the rest of the call).

You see, what happens is, if it IS the person you’re calling for, they’ll pretty much always answer with “Yes?” and they’ll MATCH and MIRROR your inflection. And it’s like … they can’t help it!

There are a few other psychological purposes that this serves, too … like … If it’s NOT the person you’re calling for, like, when you’re dealing with a Gate Keeper … it makes it seem as if the person you’re calling for knows you and is therefore expecting your call … so they put you right through.

Guys … seriously … this is some secret-weapon type stuff right here.

Raising their name up at the end of the greeting like this infers what’s known as a micro-agreement, so subconsciously, they get … basically tricked … into becoming immediately open and positive and inquisitive.

Then they’ll even answer, Yes? which is an explicit agreement, and all this happens in less than 2 seconds!

And I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but what’s the alternative?

“Hi-yes, Dave …” with flat or downward inflection.

“Hi-yes, Dave …” with a nervous or scared tone.

They answer back: “Yes …” with flat or downward inflection …

And there is a … WORLD OF DIFFERENCE … from this point forward.

I mean, think about it … if you could have the person you’re communicating with about ANYTHING be either, immediately:

A: Open, Positive, and Inquisitive …


B: Defensive, shut down, and hyper-critical …

Which would you choose?

Open versus shut down

It’s a no-brainer, I know, but doing something as simple as purposefully using in the right tonalities on your intro and agenda statements of calls will make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in how receptive the other person will be to whatever it is you’re proposing, and this is not limited to marketing or sales functions, either.

I do this all the time in meetings, calls with potential clients and clients, training sessions, even dealing with my kids

And it works every time because by doing stuff like this, you’re purposefully communicating with the other person’s subconscious mind and getting past the parts of their brain that’s concerned with safety and emotions without setting off threat alarms.

And within the first :28 seconds of any call I make, by the end of the intro and agenda statement … I usually have at least 4 or 5 micro-agreements from the other person … most of which are complete strangers … potential clients who asked to be contacted on our website …

And it makes … the calls … go smooth … every … single … time.



Published by Thomas Hurley

I am a father, husband, drummer, boater, marketer, communicator, animal-lover.

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