Talking While Female

You may remember a piece WCS-UW posted a while ago about uptalk and how men and women use it differently (link here).

To further that conversation, I’d like to introduce you to a piece that NPR recently published about which types of voices and speaking styles are perceived as more competent.  In addition to uptalk, the article talks about higher registers, vocal fry, and other factors that can make a woman sound less authoritative.  You can find the full article here.

What do you guys think?  Would you try to change the sound of your voice to make colleagues take you more seriously?


2 thoughts on “Talking While Female

  1. Sarah Vorpahl

    Addie, thank you sharing the article! I recently watched a video of myself giving a lecture on solar cells to a general audience, and spent the entire time cringing! There were definitely certain registers I would hit that made me sound, in my humble opinion, very unprofessional and even a bit vapid. This revelation was in contrast to how I thought I was coming off during the talk (charming, quirky and still professional)! Interestingly, I take great aims (apparently unsuccessfully) to try and control the way my voice sounds during talks as I have seen female colleagues who have not been taken seriously while using “a more girly” intonation. I have also run into many issues with the tone of my voice changing the course of a meeting or professional interaction as apparently I tend to ask questions in a “hostile” way. I think this is a really interesting issue (especially vocal fry, which is a whole other conversation) that we as academics should be talking about. I also think there is a deeper, philosophical conversation to be had about literally “finding ones own voice.” Lots to think about, thanks for posting!

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