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Your tone on cold calls is crucial. Here’s how to get it right.

3 min readMarch 28, 2019

Who doesn’t want to schedule more meetings from their cold calls? Your performance on cold calls can be the difference between hitting your goals or falling short of your target. You can work as best you can to get past the gatekeeper and perfect your pitch, but one of the best advice for a successful call is your tone of voice. Your tone has a far greater impact on how you are perceived than the words you say.

Based on research by Albert Mehrabian, 7% of how a message is perceived is in the words that are spoken, 38% is how the words are said and 55% is based on facial expression. When you’re on the phone, the 55% from facial expression is eliminated and how you speak becomes significantly more important.

The right tone will make prospects more comfortable as they speak to you, and you will feel like all your calls are effortless. When your tone is off, you can feel out of sync. Don’t mistake tone for confidence, however, as sounding overly confident comes across as cocky. Tone it down too much and you are perceived as unsure or timid. The key is to strike the right balance while listening intently to prospects’ responses and steering the conversation in the desired direction – a scheduled meeting or a disqualification.

This all becomes a challenge, because when you start to really pay attention to your tone, you run the risk of overthinking and you do you won’t sound natural, confident or comfortable. This translates to awkward calls, difficulty in building trust, and reduced results. So, how do you navigate this balancing act and accomplish the optimal tone on your cold calls?

It really doesn’t need to require a lot of thought on your part. Your goal here is to relax and talk to prospects like you’re speaking with a close friend in an honest and genuine manner. There are a few simple things you can do that will help you hit the tone sweet spot.


If you aren’t confident, it can be difficult to relax and act natural. Being prepared significantly increases your level of confidence. You can:

Preparing in this way will increase your confidence, allowing you to relax and speak with the prospects calmly, enthusiastically and without hesitation.

Body language counts

Use body language when you’re on the phone. Even if your prospect can’t actually see you, they can feel your positioning and they hear it reflected in your voice.

Start by smiling. Smiling alters your tone and, based on research, the person on the other end of the line can hear it. Plus, the added benefits of smiling is that it lifts your mood and energy level while reducing stress. This helps you speak in a more appealing and natural way with prospects over the phone.

Research by Amy Cuddy indicates that the way you hold your body impacts how you feel and even impacts your confidence. When cold calling try standing, or at least sitting up straight. Slouching will reduce your energy, reflecting in your voice.

Wearing a headset allows you to talk with your hands, and walk around the office while making calls. This also helps you relax and speak more naturally.

Listen to yourself

You’re probably already listening to your call recordings to improve what you say on your calls with prospects and customers. Start listen to them for tone and energy level as well. Then have a trusted colleague and your manager listen so they can provide actionable feedback. Remember to take their input and apply it.

Try smiling, sitting up straight or standing, walking around and talking with your hands while cold calling. Once you start speaking with your prospects naturally, like you would your friends, you’ll be scheduling more meetings than ever before.

What else have you found helps you have the right tone when calling prospects? Let me know in the comments below.