How does your voice sound at work? Is it a little singsongy? Is it not as steady as it could be? If so, you might need to work on your “voice of authority.” I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and have heard of it referenced in various contexts. Just last night I was reading “Goodbye Darkness,” by William Manchester that is a memoir of his time in the Pacific theater of WWII and he talked about as a young NCO he didn’t have a “command voice.” This is described as DLIPS: Distinctness, Loudness, Inflection, Projection, and Snap. It’s a voice that makes people listen and commands authority.
While in PR we aren’t often barking commands to marching soldiers across a parade ground or battlefield, we often do need to take command of a situation or a room. Additionally we need to speak with a voice of authority about a topic if we are going to convince people that it’s important or worth their time.
Today on NPR, there was a segment by Nell Greenfield Boyce on a study from Sei Jin Ko at San Diego State University that looked at the “voice of authority,” and voice of power. According to the story, “She says the voice of a person given more power was steadier and less singsongy, but also more dynamic “because it increased in pitch and intensity variability, so they went in and out of loudness more than those in low power.”
Listen to yourself and your colleagues and see if you can strengthen your voice of authority.