Friday, August 24, 2012

Can Your Voice Be Holding You Back at Work?

38% of our communication is conveyed through the sound of our voice and on the phone our voice accounts for 84% of our message. That’s why having a voice that conveys confidence and enthusiasm is so important.

People form an opinion about us within 2 seconds of meeting us. Most of those opinions or impressions are formed in a primitive part of our brain; the same part of the brain animals get their “animal instinct” from.  Like animals, we listen for tones in the voice that tell us whether the person we’ve just met is trustworthy, confident, honest, intelligent, enthusiastic, positive and safe to be with.

Because we instinctively evaluate and judge the sound of the communication before we evaluate the actual words being said, women, with higher pitched voices are often at a disadvantage. I believe there are two reasons that higher pitched voices are not taken as seriously. First of all, since all children start off with adorable high pitched voices, a high pitched voice makes us seem young and inexperienced. And second, in the animal kingdom, higher pitched sounds are often used to give off warnings of danger or to express fear, anxiety and disapproval. So a woman who does not work to modulate the pitch of her voice either comes off as childlike and insecure or shrill and anxious – not particularly effective qualities in the workplace.