Of the numerous attributes that make someone a leader, a masculine voice is a vital component in the corporate world, a recent study suggests.
While some people may view the value placed on “vocal masculinity” as a gender bias in the C-suite, another study found that both women and men prefer male and female leaders with lower-pitched voices.
But such data doesn’t mean that women aspiring to high positions need to just artificially lower their pitch. Reshaping a feminine voice to give it more impact is about building a richer vocal quality, and it’s a training process related to the energy one projects.
Your voice is your branding. Women say to me, ‘Nobody ever told me that anything was wrong with my voice.’ I am not suggesting that anything is ‘wrong.’ I am saying that there may be room for growth or development.
In meeting many professional women, I can immediately tell that they are not being promoted due to their speaking voice. On the other hand, too many businesswomen speak like men – ”aggressive, fast, and with no diplomacy.”
Your voice should reflect your female nature. Patriarchy has taught us that our voices are secondary and that we must turn up the masculine aspects of ourselves, but in doing that you’ll be working against your natural flow and personal expression.
Don’t turn down your female power. Oprah’s voice, for example, is warm and hugs us.
But for a woman to identify her voice as needing to be more masculine is like using Splenda and expecting sugar. Think Hillary Clinton; one of the reasons she didn’t get elected president is the very harshness of her voice.
Here are some tips to uplevel your communication with your feminine voice:
Record your voice.
The voice should be at a correct pitch, but even more importantly it should have carrying power. Recording yourself is a positive first step to determine where your voice stands. Really listen. Do not judge – just assess. Does your voice say what you think it does? Does it cause you to lean in or move away? Would you take this voice tone seriously?
Feel the vibrations.
Whether one’s voice is easy to produce and feels good can be determined by an exercise that allows someone to feel the vibrations created by their voice. You want to feel this, not think this. Place two fingers from each hand on each side of your nose to feel the vibration. Now open your teeth slightly, close your lips, and say, ‘mmm-hmm.’ Begin at the pitch that feels natural to you. Next, allow your jaw to relax by dropping it, open your mouth more, and expand into the sounds of ‘ah-hah, yes,’ again feeling that it comes from in front of your face. This exercise gives you an indicator of the pitch range that you should naturally be speaking from.
Men, embrace the feminine side of your voice.
The emphasis placed on having a masculine voice in the corporate world should not dissuade men from using a feminine quality in their own voice. Men, don’t be afraid to explore upleveling the feminine aspect of your voice. For a man to identify his voice as needing to be ‘all man’ – they like to say they want more gravitas – would be limiting the possibility of more range. If we study fantastic rock singers like Robert Plant and others, especially from the UK, they have an amazing ‘head’ range, usually called a falsetto. Perhaps we can call it a more feminine part of the voice.
Examine your mindset.
Disrespectful things some women have been told about their voice can affect their confidence in it, necessitating a mental reset. “Have you been told, ‘Be quiet,’ or, ‘We don’t want to hear from you’? Most of us have much work to do around this.” Women can override those negatives by using self-affirmations, such as: “What I have to say matters,” “I am here to contribute and serve,” and “I am building a voice that can be heard right now.”
People have said to me, ‘But you can’t change your voice.’ But of course you can, just like you can change your mind. You can build a richer, healthier voice with more carrying power and impact for good.
Dr. Miluna Fausch is an intuitive sound healer and the author of “Uplevel Your Communication: Evolve Your Presence and Speech to Change Everything“. She created her proprietary Vocal Archetypes℠ to train conscientious C-suite executives and thought leaders in confident, high-frequency speaking, voice and presence. Dr. Fausch has a PhD in holistic psychology, is certified as a holistic health counselor practitioner and as a Miracle-Minded Coach by Marianne Williamson.