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Do you know that as a female entrepreneur you have a born disadvantage in voice? Your vocal cords, whose vibration created our voice, have made a major difference in pitch between men and women. Women’s vocal cords are, in general, 0.5” smallet than men’s, which resulted in a higher pitch in women’s voice. Unfortunately, studies show that people perceive a lower pitch as more credible, trustworthy and authoritative. As a female entrepreneur, you want to be taken seriously the moment you open your mouth and you want your opinions to be considered solid and practical. A high-pitched voice, a nasal voice or a soft voice certainly pushes you away from what you want to achieve.
You don’t have to live with a disadvantaged voice. The human voice is with amazing potential. Once you set your determination and commitment in uncovering it, you will build a strong vocal presence that empowers you with great confidence, commands respect and attracts people to work with you.
If you saw the movie, The Iron Lady, you would know that Ms. Thatcher, starred by Meryl Steep, was mocked for her screechy voice by all the men in Parliament and her opinion was totally ignored. An advisor said to her, “The main problem is your voice. It’s too high and has no authority.” Thereafter, Ms. Thatcher went through voice coaching and achieved a reduction of 46 Hz in her voice pitch that commanded respect and projected authority.
To see the potential in your voice, you have to understand that our body is like an orchestra that makes complex and beautiful sounds. Vocal cords are just one type of the musical instrument. When you get all the musical instruments in work, you will find a fuller and richer voice that speaks credibility and trustworthiness.
Just as an orchestra needs internal cooperation and harmony to play out a beautiful piece, you need to have a relaxed and balanced body to produce a good voice. Any tension and disharmony in your body will not only affect the quality of your voice, but reduce the ease and freeness in projecting your voice. Think about a time in the past when you were stressed, nervous or agitated, was your voice affected? It probably went even higher-pitched or started trembling. You could feel the tightness in your neck and throat. One of the most effective ways to help you relax and regain balance is deep breathing. Even better, deep breathing is the one stone that kills two birds. Besides helping you relax and balance, it gives you a stronger voice.
The vibration on our vocal cords that created the voice is powered by breath. If your breath is shallow, your voice will be weak; if your breath is deep, your voice will be strong. The best starting point for your strong vocal presence is to learn how to breathe deeply.
Your voice carries great influence over yourself and others. You can build a strong vocal presence if you start to be more aware of your voice and work on it.
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Cynthia Zhai is an Executive Voice Coach. She helps leaders and professionals from a variety of nationalities to develop a voice with impact and charisma. She can be reached by email. Visit her website to learn more on Speaking and Voice.