Have you ever encountered someone who projected so much power in the sound of their voice that they instantly became the center of attention in the room? Did you know that your first few seconds of speech has an influence on how people perceive your socio-economic status, intelligence level and the amount of attention you receive?
Whether you are looking for your first internship, your first job or just making a class presentation, your vocal branding is one of the most salient trump cards you will need in order to stand out and be truly noticed in a fast-paced competitive world.
Wendy LeBorgne, in a TedX conference, emphasized that “your voice is your calling card, and it is the most important element in your personal brand.” Here are the five elements to be mindful of when it comes to enhancing your vocal brand.
Intensity emphasizes how loud you speak, which influences the perception your audience has about you. For instance, if you were shouting at a sporting event, you will be most likely perceived as enthusiastic. However, in a corporate meeting, someone with a loud tone will most likely be perceived as arrogant. There is usually a comfort level for intensity.
Inflection also is known as intonation. Can you imagine how boring it would be if there was a monotone inflection in a song? Whenever you speak without any inflections, you are perceived as boring, uninteresting and disconnected. It is interesting to know that some job seekers have been unsuccessful in interviews just because their voice intonations made them sound boring, timid and unsure of themselves.
Rate emphasizes how fast or how slow you talk. Did you know the average rate of speech of most TedX speakers is 162–175 words per minute? Your average rate of speech is equally important when it comes to branding your voice. When you speak too fast, you are most likely to be perceived as nervous and disengaged. Speaking too slowly also may be perceived as condescending. Finding the right mid tone is very essential for your vocal branding.
Frequency has to do with the pitch of your voice. Generally, for women, a high voice pitch is perceived as young, or some cases less intelligent. Women with a low voice pitch, on the other hand, are perceived as authoritative. Finding the right balance in the pitch of your voice will have a positive influence on how you will be perceived.
Quality ranges from clarity of voice to coarseness of voice. This influences how interesting you sound when you speak. Did you know that now, with the technology of voice biometrics, you will most likely not get an interview if your voice is perceived as too coarse during a phone conversation? Being aware of how clear your voice is goes a long way to landing you that dream job.
Ama Akoto-Boateng is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in communication at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She serves as a 2020–2021 PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee member. In her free time, Akoto-Boateng enjoys singing, trying out new recipes and going on a road trip. She is passionate about sustainability and public relations and has been at the forefront of a number of award-winning sustainability initiatives. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.