Last week, an amazing thing happened. The President of the United States walked into a garage in Los Angeles to record a podcast with a scruffy comedian named Marc Maron on his WTF show. This event rocked the mass media and political world in a big way and sent a message that radio was not as relevant as podcasting in enabling intimate and personal connections with voters. This WTF episode garnered about a million downloads within 36 hours. This is another tent pole moment on the scale of “Serial” for podcasting and on demand audio.
What’s more important? What’s being said, or the voice that’s saying it?
It’s the question that the communications analytics company, Quantified Impressions, is trying to answer. Whether it’s smooth and rich, or nasally and whiny, your voice can affect how you’re seen by your peers, and even whether or not you’ll land that next job. In fact “[t]he sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of the message.”
This may sound like scary news to those of us lacking in golden pipes, but there are ways of working around it. A vocal coach or voice therapy can smooth out any rasp, and affectations such as up-talking or the overuse of fillers (such as “like” or “um”) can be remedied with a little bit of helpful feedback and practice.
Read up on the study here at the Wall Street Journal. It’s a real “ear”-opener, and something to keep in mind next time you’re up at the mic.