What’s More Important … What You Say or How You Say It?

by Kerry Martin

We always say “Content is King,” but following a study that was recently released, I’d argue that how you deliver your message is equally important.

Conducted by University of Miami researchers, the study focused on how the creaky, low-pitch tone used by younger women called “vocal fry” can impact hiring decisions.  The outcome?  Women speaking in vocal fry were 80 percent more likely to be passed over for a job in favor of women speaking in normal tones.

But I would take these findings as a lesson for all—not only for hiring, but for professional communicators.  Like other fads (think Valley Girl speak), vocal fry is a tendency or learned behavior that creeps into normal speech, not a pattern you have been speaking since adolescence.  This choice of speech can impact not only your career, but the company that you are representing.

If you are responsible for speaking with customers, delivering messages to the media, or simply trying to close a deal with a potential sales lead, consider that the study revealed mostly negative perceptions of women who use vocal fry when it came to competence and trustworthiness.

Even if you have the best message or sales pitch in the world, how you deliver it could have the bigger impact.

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