Do you SOUND it?
Last night we were a part of a great event on “Fearless Public Speaking” (more on that next week). But as a part of that event, we talked with a young woman who had previously received feedback that her naturally bubbly, happy personality and particularly, her voice, would prevent her from being taken seriously. This feedback had been given to her in a corporate training session and had stuck with her, making her doubt her abilities. Her “self-talk” centered around keeping her voice unnaturally low.
The fact is that women tend to have higher voices than men. An up-high, up-talking voice is not generally considered the sound of a leader and many women will artificially lower their voices to sound more imposing.
Do we associate lower voices with power because traditionally it was the men wielding it? Is it fair to women whose voices are naturally higher? Does it fall into the same camp as research showing that taller people earn more? Again, men are generally taller than women – a biological fact.
The advice we hear for speakers (as well as career advice) often centers around being true to yourself. What do you think? Do we need to change who we are and what we sound like to adhere to the expectations of others?