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Listen to the Sound of Your Voice, and It Will Tell You Whether or Not You’ll Be Successful


If your CEO is a man, he most likely has a deeper voice than average, according to recent research from Duke University. If the head honcho is a woman, on the other hand, her voice is likely to be similar in pitch to the average woman. The way she uses it, however, is completely different than her less successful colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal examined a small study of ten female business leaders, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. The study, which was based on a comparison with a 423-person database, found that the difference between highly successful women and their lower ranking peers lies in something called “vocal energy.”

Carrie Goldberger, a research analyst with communications analysis firm Quantified Impressions, tells the Journal that an energetic voice seems authentic to listeners. “Energetic” voices, in this context, vary in loudness and intensity, conveying the speaker’s passion and commitment.

Vocal energy might also be a factor for male leaders as well. Goldberger points out that President Obama speaks in a higher pitch than previous presidents, but he also has a high degree of vocal energy.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The good news for aspiring leaders, world or otherwise, is that vocal energy is completely within our control. Unlike pitch, which we’re largely stuck with, the intensity and varying volume with which we speak is something we can work on.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think your voice has held you back, professionally — or paved the way to success? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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(Photo Credit: visual_dichotomy/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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