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Your Annoying Voice Is Yet Another Reason People Don't Like You

Illustration for article titled Your Annoying Voice Is Yet Another Reason People Dont Like You

As soon as you drop that last ten pounds and get the bump sliced off your nose, you just have to worry about changing your entire sound and then finally, FINALLY, you'll be okay.

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There's a reason people play to get Carl Kasell's voice on their answering machine, and not yours. He's got the smooth voice of a seasoned gentleman, and you've got the squawking pipes of a deranged dodo bird afflicted with vocal fry. But never fear, you can change that squeaky, nasally annoyance of a voice into something humans want to hear via "therapy, coaching or feedback."

I'm just imaging a feedback session: YOUR VOICE SUCKS CHANGE IT.

Basically, that's what's happening — well, with a little more decorum. People are paying for these lessons because their shitty friends and intrusive coworkers are telling them their voices make them want to jump off a bridge into oncoming traffic in the middle of a tornado at the eye of the storm.

Raising the issue can be touchy, Ms. Hartman says. Some people become defensive about their voices, saying, "That's just the way I talk, and people shouldn't judge me," she says. Also, sensitive factors such as gender, ethnicity, age and cultural background play a role in how people talk, and so managers should take care not to discriminate against an employee based on those characteristics, she says.

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Personally, I love hearing different accents and qualities of voices and if someone's voice is bothering me, I'll either move myself or put on headphones. Is this honestly a problem for people? Have you ever been so annoyed about someone's voice that you wanted to suggest they get vocal therapy? Because I think that might be more your issue than theirs.

Oh shit, maybe I'm the one with the annoying voice.

[WSJ]

Shutterstock/Chrystya

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DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I hate to be "that guy," but... I sorta get this.

I'll be perfectly honest: I find vocal fry (on men and women) irritating. For me at least, if I'm listening to NPR and hear vocal fry being employed, I wonder why that person hasn't been trained on better delivery. I say this as someone who was at least somewhat trained for vocal delivery during time in broadcast journalism.

In other instances, whatever. But if your job requires you to employ your voice as a tool, you need to be good with that tool.

And, frankly, I think that people who have poor vocal delivery often come off worse in speech than those with good delivery. I don't claim this is fair. But in the transmission of ideas, the way it is transmitted matters.

To put it another way, we care about the quality of someone's voice when they sing. Aesthetics also matter in speech.

If your job requires constant vocal communication and you are poor at vocal delivery (for reasons other than health), then I see nothing wrong with considering vocal coaching of some sort. Not all of us write for a living— my voice is an important tool for working with my customers and coworkers. Being able to be comforting or reassuring comes in no small part from my vocal delivery.

But anyway, just my $.02.