It is hard to hear the sound of your own voice. But that sound may affect other people’s impressions of you even more than what you talk or say.
A strong, smooth voice can enhance your chances of rising to CEO. And a nasal whine, a raspy tone or strident volume can drive colleagues to distraction. “People may be tempted to say, ‘Would you shut up?’ But they dance around the issue because they don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings,” says Phyllis Hartman, an Ingomar, Pa., human-resources consultant.
New research shows the sound of a person’s voice strongly influences how he or she is seen. The sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of the message, according to a study last year of 120 executives’ speeches by Quantified Impressions, an Austin, Texas, communications analytics company. Researchers used computer software to analyze speakers’ voices, then collected feedback from a panel of 10 experts and 1,000 listeners. The speakers’ voice quality accounted for 23% of listeners’ evaluations; the content of the message accounted for 11%. Other factors were the speakers’ passion, knowledge and presence.
People who hear recordings of rough, weak, strained or breathy voices tend to label the speakers as negative, weak, passive or tense. People with normal voices are seen as successful, sexy, sociable and smart, according to a study of 74 adults published recently in the Journal of Voice. “We are hard-wired to judge people. You hear somebody speak, and the first thing you do is to form an opinion about them,” says Lynda Stucky, president of ClearlySpeaking, a Pittsburgh coaching company.
Read the full article: Is This How You Really Talk?