Articles we love (3): Do you sound like the person you think you are?


Do you rejoice or cringe when you hear your own voice? Chances are, you do the latter. Most of us do. Have you ever wondered why? The reasons go beyond the common explanation that our recorded voice sounds more high-pitched than the one we hear ‘through our bones’. 

It’s not only sounding more high-pitched than we expect that makes us flinch with frustration and disappointment when we hear our own recorded voice, but also the realization that the way we sound does not match our internal image of ourselves and the image we’d like to project to others.

While speaking with the expressive quality of our voice –tone, tempo and all the habitual characteristics of it – we reveal more than we are aware of when it comes to our personality traits, and more than we’ve intended to convey about ourselves.

So we’re jolted out of the comfort zone of our long-cherished notion of who we are once the sound of our recorded voice suddenly exposes the feelings and attitudes we have not wished to telegraph and, which we might not even have been aware of. 

The shock of this realization and the ensuing judgement and re-evaluation of ourselves can lead to disappointment and frustration, not only with our voice, and who we really are and how we thought we presented ourselves to the world, but also with the inefficiencies it can cause when communicating with other people.

In the case of organizations, these inefficiencies in communication with co-workers, customers and clients can impact the growth and vitality of the organization – so a little more awareness of ‘how’ we speak is essential, not just in terms of relationships, but also in terms of profit.

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Scott Miller