Voice and Gender. How male and female voices shape the workplace

On 25th April 2017, we were very pleased to welcome public speaking coach Matt Pocock for a talk on voice and gender at Gallery Elena Shchukina.

Matt led a lively, interactive session which was both fun and informative.

Matt broke down our perceptions of vocal qualities and asked us to think about whether these were generally perceived as masculine or feminine. The initial reaction is that loud, deep, authoritative voices are “masculine” while soft, high-pitched, breathy voices are “feminine”. In the workplace, this can create problems, as the masculine qualities are ascribed to leaders, while feminine voices can get lost.

Matt told us about the physical differences between men and women’s voices. Men’s larynges can be 40% larger than women’s, meaning women have to work much harder to create the same power and volume. But despite the physical differences, there are ways in which both sexes can project confidence, power and authority.

In just a few steps, everyone can add positive qualities to their voices. Varying pitch, volume, speed and twang can make it more likely that people will listen to you. Techniques include varying the pitch of your voice to sound more engaging and creative during presentations, or speaking more slowly and deliberately to project the confidence ascribed to natural leaders.

An important issue Matt tackled was nerves. So many of us fear speaking in public, we physically tense up and our voices become small and strained. Becoming aware of this problem is the first step towards solving it. Practicing relaxation and speaking exercises, and working with a coach like Matt, will make an enormous difference to how you sound, and in turn will be a huge confidence boost.

For anyone who missed the presentation, Matt has created a special video which you can watch here: https://youtu.be/2kdCsb1xRc0

More information is also available on Matt’s website http://www.voicehacker.co.uk/