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How does your voice affect the way you are perceived?

by AirTalk®

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Voice therapist Robert Dowhy goes through a series of exercises that teach how to relax throat muscles, use vocal cords properly and breathe in ways that reduce voice strain. Mae Ryan/KPCC

How you speak could be more important than what you say, according to a new study from Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company. Everyone knows someone with a grating or annoying voice, and according to new research, they’re more likely to experience HR conflict at work.

Accents and vocal patterns are also important to the way people are perceived -- people with regional, ethnic, or foreign accents are often discriminated against for sounding uneducated or inexperienced. For example, people with Southern accents are frequently passed over for corporate positions in other regions, but their voices may sound more friendly and trustworthy in a sales setting, resulting in larger tips.

People who employ vocal trends like uptalk, vocal fry, or “crutching” are often stereotyped as young, or inexperienced, but it’s more likely to have an impact if they’re not looking for a job in California.

Do people who pick up vocal trends or have what are considered to be annoying voices suffer in the workplace and outside of it? How do trends like uptalking and vocal fry affect the way someone is perceived?

Carmen Fought, Professor of Linguistics, Pitzer College, specializes in Phonology, bilingual language acquisition, sociolinguistics

Jayne Latz, M.A., CCC-SLP, President of Corporate Speech Solutions, with over twenty years experience providing speech therapy as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist

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