Men with deep voices get the girls. Men with deep voices have more children. Deep voices attract voters. Recent research out of McMaster, Aberdeen, and other universities, certainly inspires catchy headlines. We’re told that women find deep-voiced men more attractive and have better recollection of what they say. Men with deep voices have more babies, get more votes and are perceived as better leaders. Sure they are more often suspected of infidelity, but it does not diminish the otherwise crushing advantages. It’s enough to make a guy want to jump down a well.
And that’s exactly what many men do, vocally. They plunge their voice into the very bottom of their range in an attempt to sound more masculine, authoritative and sexy. Ironically, when you speak too low, you create throat tension, robbing your voice of its natural depth, power, and impact. If you explore the middle of your range, allowing your voice to be just slightly higher than what you’re used to, you’ll discover a voice that feels better, sounds better, and communicates more effectively.
When you speak too low men, you tend to sound monotone. That’s partly because your voice has no room to move around. It can’t go down, and if you feel uncomfortable letting it go up, then your delivery tends to sound flat and expressionless. So one way of enhancing expressiveness is, again, to move into the middle of your range, so your voice can go up or down. But the primary strategy is to breathe. In my experience, when you learn to breathe well, as it relates to speaking, you automatically become more expressive and interesting.
Another common characteristic of male voices is they tend to be retracted, pulled back into the throat. When you force your voice lower, you unconsciously pull down the back of your tongue. That traps your voice in your throat so it sounds tense and constricted. Your listeners feel as though you’re pulling back and unwilling to fully engage with them. That has serious implications for your effectiveness as a speaker. The solution, breathing and tongue relaxation. If breath flows forward, sound flows forward, and if the root of your tongue isn’t blocking your throat, breath and sound flow even more generously.
If your pitch is too low, and you’re pulling back on your voice, then you tend to start mumbling. So two small problems combine to create a big problem. When people continually struggle to understand you, they eventually stop trying. If you have something to say, then say it with commitment. You can’t control how others respond, but you do control what you put out there. So don’t fail to make an impact because you didn’t give them anything to work with. Engage your whole voice and come forward.
Most of us probably won’t have voices that sound like James Earl Jones, but you most certainly do have a voice with its own potential for strength, richness, and clarity. Opening up, using breath generously, and exploiting the middle of your range will take you a whole lot further than jamming your voice down into your throat, trying to force it deeper. And if all else fails, you can find some comfort in recent research showing that men with deep voices tend to have lower sperm counts.
For more information to improve your speaking skills and some sample exercises to help you get started, click the link below and download the free booklet and video series, The Sound of Success.