How do you improve your speaking voice

Training your voice: the power of the voice

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This is how the voice is created: What happens when you speak

"The lovely voice is more enchanting than the beauty itself," wrote Johann Gottfried von Herder. So easy for one Words go from the tongue - the talking itself remains for him Intercom Hard work. With every sound we articulate, ours open and close Vocal folds (see graphic) many times a second.

For example, to produce the tone "A" - that Dial tone on the phone - it needs a frequency of 440 Hertz, i.e. a sound wave with 440 oscillations per second. To trigger this, the vocal folds must also open and close 440 times per second. Men usually have one Base frequency of 130 Hertz hum, while women are closer to 190 vibrations per second.

In order to produce notes of different heights - after all, an A can be sung in several octaves - the muscles around the vocal cords have to tense differently: For low notes stay looser, if they are higher they contract. This is how Speech melody.

Responsible for our voice, however, are not only the individual speech melody, speaking speed, stretches and different high tones, but also the so-called Overtones. They resonate with each sound with a slightly modified frequency and have a different pattern for each person. This can best be compared with the Timbres individual instruments: Whether a piano or a violin plays an "A" makes no difference to the tone: it has 440 Hertz in both cases. And yet our ears can hear exactly which instrument is making the strings vibrate.

In this way, a unique sound, a kind, is created for each of us vocal fingerprint, which, for example, police investigators regularly use to convict telephone blackmailers.

The power of the voice

The human brain processes the spoken word after just 140 milliseconds. What content was spoken, however, has only one very much small proportion how the words work and are received. Body language and the voice are much more important.

Your voice has enormous potential and can be a powerful instrument. Used correctly, you can convince others and assert yourself. Even sympathy and approval can be generated through the voice. Even intonation and breathing can get a listener on your side. Behind it is that psychorespiratory effect:

We imitate unconsciouslywhen we listen. The speaker, who nervously radebrecht at the lectern, also causes breathing cramps in his audience. You can also feel an approaching throat clearing or anticipate it when the creaking of the speaker becomes unbearable. Conversely: Anyone who calms us down and relaxes, maybe even stimulates us through his voice, is immediately sympathetic to us.

Each Voice pattern works differently and in addition to positive effects, the power of the voice can also turn into the opposite:

  • With halting, unrhythmic voice what is said appears fragmentary, the listener will doubt or at least remain irritated.
  • Who against nibbles, appears arrogant, sensitive.
  • A pathetic way of speaking in turn, creates the feeling that the speaker is dishonest.
  • who with sharp voice speaks, attracts attention, but is also classified as cold and aggressive by his audience.

This is how voice can influence your perception

The voice has a huge impact on how people are perceived. Sound, vocal color and melody can significantly influence the image we have of a person. Sometimes we don't even have to see someone else, just an audio sample of their voice is enough to get a first impression.

Numerous studies already have different effects that show what information is filtered out of the voice:

  1. Deep male voices are attractive

    What many have always suspected is also proven by scientific studies. A deep male voice is attractive to women. With a low pitch, female brains automatically connect masculinity, Testosterone, size and physical strength.

    All indicators that point to women basically attractive Act. Women seem to be playing a trick on perception: if you ask them directly, many women infer the weight of a man from a deeper voice - deep voice, more volume.

    In the female head, however, the image of one arises large and muscular hunk, not a small, plump Max Mustermann whose pitch is just as low.

  2. High female voices are attractive

    Conversely, men jump on the high pitches of the female voice. The associations behind it go back a long way: A high-pitched voice lets you down petite body close, a woman who wants to be protected and who is insecure on her own.

    An assumption that is no longer up-to-date for today's emancipated conditions, but which still works in the perception.

    However, there are also limits to the highs of the female voice. The voice becomes more like one Squeaks or just sounds squeaky, the effect is reversed and the attraction to the male sex is lost.

  3. Love is reflected in the voice

    Not only can your own feelings be transmitted with the help of the voice, people also have a very fine feeling for Listen to the emotionsthat resonate in the voice of others.

    This was impressively proven with what is perhaps the strongest emotion in a study: love. When two people who love each other speak to each other, their voice changes to one very much subtle kindwhich is nevertheless immediately interpreted correctly by many.

    Already audio samples from just once two seconds were enough for the test subjectsto see if the speakers were in love with each other. Newly loved ones seem to have a kind of vulnerability and fear of rejection in their voices that others can hear, according to the study's authors.

  4. Deep voices are better remembered

    A deep voice can be an advantage, especially for managers, because: What is presented in a deep voice stays with the listenerbetter and longer in memoryhang>. Where a beeping voice is quickly suppressed, a powerful bass has a lasting effect.

    This applies especially to female listenerswho remember deep voices better. But men with a deep, masculine voice are also said to be of the same gender as having greater leadership quality.

  5. Your own voice is not recognized

    No matter who you seem to be asking: Nobody likes their own voice. Anyone who hears themselves speaking on a video or a sound recording often asks in astonishment whether their voice actually sounds that way.

    However, one study showed that most people are not as averse to their own voice as it always seems. Rather, the following applies: Among many other examples, one does not even recognize oneself.

    In the test, participants were asked to rate a variety of voices - including their own, mixed together. The result: Those who did not recognize their own voice as such gave average very good ratings for its own sound from.

  6. Unfamiliar accents sound less believable

    Anyone who speaks a lot in another language and has an accent could do one Credibility problem to have. Researchers found that overall, we are more likely to assume that people with accents are untrustworthy.

    On the one hand, this can be justified with prejudices, but the scientists also provide another explanation: It is more difficult for our brain to Understand accents and process the information accordingly.

    A perceptual error then leads to the fact that the statements are labeled as implausible, because our brain tries to tell us that complicated and difficult to understand things usually tends not to correspond to the truth.

  7. Accents are unconsciously imitated

    Although you are perceived as less credible, this is automatically adjusted in the conversation. In direct communication different accents approach each other. For example, if you speak to someone who has not learned German as their mother tongue and thus has difficulties in pronunciation or grammar, you begin to adapt to the other person.

    Scientists believe this behavior serves to communicate. As the different voices and languages ​​converge, it is easier for both sides to understand the other.

    Even if this often happens unconsciously, you should still use it possibly associated danger Make it clear: If the other person is imitated too much, this is perceived as an insult and gives the impression that one is making fun of the other person.

  8. Well-known voices can be filtered out

    An effect on perception that is particularly beneficial in large groups, overcrowded rooms and at events: familiar voices can easily be filtered out from many others. Become several voices placed one on top of the other, one of which is known, the focus can be consciously placed on this.

    In one study, researchers were able to show that it was easier for the participants to do so understand what the spouse saidwhen his voice has been mixed with others.

    However, this also works the other way around: if you concentrate on it, you can Knowingly fade out and ignore known voices.

The voice is a calling card and a traitor at the same time

In times when we can neither rely on the truthfulness of words nor the evidential value of images, the voice takes on a completely new weight. She is not only unique identifier, but almost undistorted and therefore just as authentic as "Intimate business card" of personality, says the voice researcher Hartwig Eckert from Flensburg.

The voice gives us direct access to the feelings of the other person. She is a subliminal one Door opener, an icebreaker, a bridge builder.

The voice is not just a calling card, it is also a dangerous one traitor. It exposes the speaker's mood as well as his intentions. The limbic system, the control center of our brain for Feelings, influences all nuances:

  • If someone is sad or depressed, their speech muscles automatically relax, the vocal folds react with a delay and vibrate more gently. The voice promptly sounds deeper, more powerless, more indistinct.
  • Disinterest or frustration, on the other hand, make the voice flat and monotonous, the speech melody lacks any modulation.
  • Anyone who is stressed or nervous sounds pressed and thin, the speaker literally constricts the throat.

These vocal fold confessions are globally the same and regardless of culture. A few years ago, the psychologist Klaus Scherer at the University of Geneva delivered one of the best-known experiments:

He let actors sentences meaningless in terms of content speaking on tape from elements of different languages ​​and playing the gibberish to people from different nations. Although none of them understood a word, the English, Spaniards, Italians, French or Germans recognized immediately whether the mimes were pleased, angry, sad or afraid.

Can the voice influence professional success?

In higher positions there are often people with a comparatively deep, powerful voice. An accident? Hardly, because scientists are convinced that the voice is an important success factor. From a single voice we can infer some important qualities and skills that are in great demand in the professional world.

What qualities do you associate with a deep voice: strength? Competence? Trustworthiness? If you have a high-pitched beeping voice, you may be thinking less positively. A study carried out by the University of Miami was able to document and prove precisely this effect.

Male and female subjects became potential voters in the experiment and had to choose between people who did not see them - only heard them. The voices for this came from recordings of female and male test subjects. They all spoke the same sentence: I urge you to vote for me this November.

The trick: The voices were digitally distorted. The test participants always heard the same woman and the same man - only their voices sometimes sounded deeper to grumpy, sometimes higher to beepy. Then the test persons were asked to vote on their favorites and assign certain properties to them.

The result: The candidates with the lower votes were given preference - men and women. The higher their voices sounded, the more likely the test persons assumed they were less competent and trustworthy. A disadvantage for women, as Klofstad admitted: "The naturally higher voice of women could be one of the reasons why they are underrepresented in management positions."

Women with creaky voices are less likely to get jobs

It is not just whether a voice sounds high or low that influences success. A study by Duke University also came to the conclusion: people with creaky, crackling voices are left behind in the job market - especially women.

The researchers left the sentence to women and men between the ages of 19 and 27 for their experiments thank you for considering me for this opportunity take up. In German, for example: Thank you for considering me for this opportunity. A sentence that can be used in job interviews. The speakers sometimes use their normal voice, sometimes they speak deliberately in a creaky and distorted manner. The scientists then had around 800 test subjects listen to and evaluate the recordings.

Remarkable: Although the creaking voices usually sound deeper (which generally seems more personable and competent) and the speakers also spoke more slowly (i.e. more clearly), they woke the audience up mostly negative associations: less competent, less well educated, less trustworthy. In the end, the audience even agreed not to hire these speakers. Most of all, however, this applied to the speakers. The researchers suspect another effect as the reason: the deviation from the Indifference.

Voice Training: How to Improve the Effect of Your Voice

Some are lucky and naturally have a sympathetic voice. Everyone else has to learn it first. Because how to get on today Manners and clothing respects, one can understand and cultivate one's own voice as part of one's appearance.

The decisive factor whether a voice moves and convinces us is above all the so-called Indifference. Sounds complicated, but it's just that personal keynote that everyone individually but regularly talks about. You can find this middle speaking position by thinking of a good meal and humming a pleasant "Mmmh". When speaking, our voice usually circulates up to a fifth around this tone. Only when she moves away from this area permanently, for example when stressed, do the ears of the audience sound the alarm.

Even simple tips and exercises help to improve your own effect:

  • to hum

    Breathe out and in again slowly through your nose. As the air flows out, hum a vigorously and loudly "Mmmmh". The lips hardly touch each other. Effect: The voice gets more volume and resonance in the mouth. At the same time, you get more sound feeling.

  • yawning

    Yawning lowers the larynx. Effect: The resonance space becomes larger, at the same time the vocal muscles relax. The voice becomes clearer, more liberated and sometimes deeper.

  • Straighten up

    The air supply is decisive for our voice - and not chest breathing, but abdominal breathing. If you sit or stand cramped, you hardly leave any space for your diaphragm.

  • Relax

    Voice volume is not a question of exertion. The opposite is true. If you want to convince, never press your voice out, just let it flow from your stomach.

  • Alternate

    If you want to get carried away, you have to vary: loud / quiet, fast / slow, pauses and different speech melodies - all of this should be part of a speech.

  • Drink

    The proverbial oiled voice is not a truism. Those who drink a lot keep their voice supple. Water also neutralizes the ugly smacking sound when you open your mouth.

Interviews with experts

Irina von Bentheim is a professional spokesperson.Most people know her better than the German voice of Sarah Jessica Parker alias Carrie Bradshaw from the cult series "Sex and the City".

The voice is an expression of our soul. There are voices on the phone that are so sharp that I have to keep the receiver off my ear because it hurts me. There are people who want to cover up their feelings with their voices and others who use them to express their feelings. By the way, Bhagwan was a real vocal artist. His voice was tender and like an arrow that pierces your soul. No wonder so many people have fallen for it. He let each sentence end in a unique way.

HERE see the entire interview.

Isabel García is a qualified speaker and rhetoric trainer with a focus on free speech. She herself worked as a radio presenter for R.SH and NDR for over ten years. She had her own teaching institute "Ich REDE." In Hamburg and published a guide to rhetoric.

The exciting thing about speaking is that it is a work with yourself. You get to know yourself better, support your own strengths with a little hand tools and thus come across more convincingly. And in a very natural way.

HERE see the entire interview.

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