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Even Women Prefer Lower Voices in Authority Figures

Better speaking can help you not only in politics but in life.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

December 14, 2012 - 6:06 am

This is what a study found on how women respond to female politicians:

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously had elocution lessons to lower her voice and make it sound more masculine and authoritative.

She was advised – correctly, in light of subsequent research – that members of the public would find this more appealing.

Studies have demonstrated that men and women prefer leaders of both sexes in politics or business to have lower voices.

The new research shows this rule even extends to leadership positions traditionally occupied by women.

Unfortunately for me, the low voice phenomenon is accurate. When I was in LA recently, I had the opportunity to meet with voice coach Bob Corff who runs an LA studio. I tend to talk to0 quickly and my voice pitches upward when I speak at times. The first thing Corff told me was to speak slowly and lower my voice. “I sound like a man!” I exclaimed in my high-pitched voice. “No” you don’t,” he told me, “but if you want people to listen to you, you have to learn to communicate effectively. Lower your voice and slow down.” I now practice this technique when I am at a store, out in public or even just talking to others. It is hard and doesn’t come naturally for me but it works. I notice people hear more of what I am saying and respond better. It also helps me stay calmer when I speak which is important.

I still practice Corff’s techniques with an inexpensive audio CD called Corff Voice Studios: Speaker’s Voice Method that I highly recommend if you want to improve your voice for work, speaking, or just in general. You can also watch his video here at YouTube for more tips. (Oops, just removed the exclamation mark from that last sentence so you wouldn’t get the impression that I raised my voice).

Being a more effective communicator is ever important in the present economic and political climate.

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Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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