Archive for the 'Vocal Image' Category

May 06 2015

Big Voice, big…

Published by under Vocal Image

Attention!!Does the size of your voice reflect the size of your personality?

The size and sound of your voice give others an impression of who you are. According to a study last year of 120 executives’ speeches by Quantified Impressions, an Austin, Texas, communications analytics company, the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of the message.

In another study, Professors from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management studied the vocal pitches of 792 male chief executives at publicly traded companies and discovered that CEO’s with lower voices made more money than their counterparts with higher voices.  In a smaller study of 14 female CEO’s, they discovered that we do NOT value low voices in women leaders.  Instead, women CEO’s get kudos for variety of inflection.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful with the voice you have. It means that there are some cultural biases when it comes to voices and that it is a good idea to become aware of them.   Although you can’t change some features of your voice, such as basic type (soprano, alto, tenor, bass,) some things can be changed.  At the very least, become more aware of how you are perceived by the sound of your voice.  Awareness can lead to learning how to create the impression you want.

For more on this topic, please read my post, Investing in your vocal image, a tale of two strategies.

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Feb 14 2012

How to Create a Sexy Voice

Published by under Presence,Vocal Image

The other day, I was speaking with  a woman who has chronic laryngitis.  Her voice is very low and husky, and she gets lots of comments on “that sexy voice.”  To me, it sounds tired and unhealthy, but I know people who want that sound because they DO think it’s sexy.  So the questions I want to answer today are

  • What is a sexy voice, and
  • How do you create it? (and is there time before Valentine’s Day???)

What makes a voice sound sexy?

A now-famous study by Gordon Gallup and others at the University of Albany showed that both men and women with attractive voices also had more attractive bodies, and a larger sex life.  The researchers were able to show that women felt that low voices were more attractive in men, but they were unable to conclude what makes a woman’s voice sound more attractive to men.  In a later study, however,Dr. Gallup found that women’s voices are most attractive to both men and other women when they are at the peak of fertility, which in fact, causes their pitch to rise rather than drop. This is caused by the presence of more estrogen, just as a lower voice in men is associated with a higher level of testosterone.  This makes sense.  First and foremost, even in this modern world, we are attracted to people for procreation, and the voice seems to be an indicator of the right chemistry!

Perhaps the reason we think a low voice sounds sexy is because we are intuitively aware that a low voice means power.  This is true in the most primal way, of course, but again, we cannot deny our primal roots!  As women have sought to compete more and more with men in the workplace, they have lowered their voices.  Anne Karpf discusses this trend in her book, The Human Voice: How This Extraordinary Instrument Reveals Essential Clues About Who We Are.   It seems that the average pitch of women’s voices is no longer an octave higher than a man’s, but just 2/3 of an octave.  The problem with this trend is that it is hazardous to the voice.  Speaking too low can cause nodules, or calluses on the vocal folds, chronic laryngitis, and reduce the flexibility of the vocal mechanism.

So, I want to stop all this nonsense about a low voice being sexy and about power being demonstrated by a low voice and get to the heart of it.  A sexy voice is grounded, just like a sexy person is confident.  A sexy voice has vibrant resonance, just as a sexy person is vibrant.  And a sexy voice is flexible, reflecting a sensitive, emotional person.  If you have those three things, your sexy voice will be healthy and it will reflect your emotions and desires.

How to create a sexy voice

  1. Make your breathing low and expansive.  Just like good sex, good breathing is low and deep (now you will never forget that about proper breathing!)
  2. Create a resonance that is powerful by using mask resonance.  To do this, humming is a great tool, and music is the food of love, of course.  (Research shows that music stimulates the brain in the same place as food and sex, by the way, so you know why I always recommend humming!!)
  3. Create variety in your sound by letting your voice show your emotions.  An emotional connection with your voice allows others to feel closer to you too…hint, hint

Update:  A post from Huff Post on love songs you can sing…that’s sexy too.  Top Ten Love Songs That Are Easy to Sing

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