Our findings show that the voice is a much more powerful tool for expressing emotions than previously assumed.
Yes, words are powerful, but we often forget the power of our voice itself.
When receiving communication, how the message was spoken carries just as much weight as the words themselves. If I say “Please get out of my office,” in a timid tone, you’d take it that I was likely worn out, out of energy, stressed and/or unengaging. If I said the same sentence with a growl in my voice that was low and load, you’d immediately know that I was very angry and upset.
There are several areas where we can learn about the power of our voice.
Using your voice to communicate without words
There are 24 sounds that people use to communicate without words. The University of California, Berkley completed a research study with actors and regular people where they recorded their reactions to different emotional scenarios. 24 seems like a lot but think about your every day. How often this week have you let out a frustrated sigh? Maybe you’ve let out a gasp at surprise, fear or terror. A good laugh communicates your amusement without any words.
The school also has an amazing interactive map that lets you hear the sounds and how they correlate to communicating emotions. I probably spent a little too much time here playing around with it. It’s fun and educational!
Your voice is a powerful tool to communicate emotions even without having to say any words. Understanding this communication piece can help you increase your self-management and relationship management with others.
Using your body to control your voice
Your voice calls on over half of your body to help it communicate. When you are speaking with authority, your shoulders are back and you are speaking from your diaphragm. When you are annoyed or showing contempt you speak through your head. You move all your vocal power to your upper throat and nasal cavity.
Think about your body as you talk to others. Knowing what parts of the body convey what message can help you enhance what you are trying to get across. Knowing the role that your body plays also can help you with self-awareness. Talking through your nasals or in a weaker high pitch that is exaggerated can come off as annoying and uninviting. If you find yourself doing this, knowing the body’s ties to the voice can help you correct it for better communication.
Match your voice to your message
Now that we know about the sounds that we make and how we use our bodies to project our voice, we can make sure that our voice and words align to bring the message that we want. Have you ever had to go back and explain to someone, “That’s not what I meant,” because they misinterpreted how you said something? Make sure that your voice, non-verbals, and words are speaking in beautiful unison when you are communicating to others.
Your voice is a powerful tool in your daily communication. Understand it’s impact and use your knowledge to your advantage in becoming a better communicator.
Make a better tomorrow.