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Study on the psychological impacts of the voice

by July 24, 2020No Comments

"In-person meetings are more effective than virtual ones."

This is the flawed, but strongly supported view on virtual interaction, supported by many industry experts. One study conducted by Oxford Economics a few years ago he discovered; that every dollar invested in business travel leads to $ 12.50 in revenue and $ 3.80 in new profits. However, limited budgets, busy schedules, better technology, and the need for immediacy have made virtual interaction, primarily voice calls, a widely used communication strategy for businesses today. Having an argument on the phone isn't as bad as everyone seems to think. Dr. Jeremy Dean has completely ruined the myth of non-verbal communication, so don't even go there.

Effectiveness of virtual meetings

Assuming the diplomatic middle ground, I combined these two conflicting facts into a formula on how to optimize the effectiveness of the voice. Learn from the field of psychology and apply it to your business communication strategy to make voice-only conversations as powerful as those expensive and time-consuming in-person meetings.

The shrill step

Research into the tone of the human voice has shown that deeper, masculine voices are generally preferred over high-pitched voices for male and female leaders. The study also suggests that social context is not as influential on tone of voice as other research has suggested before. Rather, "perceptions of leadership skills are broadly consistent across different leadership sectors."

So, if you want to increase your authority during a phone call, remember the influence of your tone of voice and lower the level.

Own love

In their study of the perception of vocal attractiveness, psychology professors Susan Hughes and Marissa Harrison found that people love their voices, even if they don't recognize them as their own. Hughes explains that "given this era of heightened narcissism, the study provides further evidence that individuals seem to be inflating their opinions about themselves by thinking that the sound of their own voices is more attractive."

How is it useful on a business call? Well, if the call is recorded and later used as a decision basis, ask the decision maker to express your arguments! You will then leave the one who needs to be convinced, actually convincing himself. Sneaky? This is what you get for being inflated ...

Swinging at a cocktail party

A fascinating Canadian research project called Swinging at a Cocktail Party studied the perception of speech recognition in the presence of competing voices and found that familiar ones stand out in the crowd. Interestingly, familiar voices are easier to track down and intentionally ignore. In business, this would suggest that the voices you recognize will be easier to direct during a busy conference call. So, familiarize yourself with the important voices, to get rid of the strong ones.

Speak American

Shiri Lev-Ari and Boaz Keysar conducted a study on the influence of accent on credibility, which implies that non-native language is less credible than native language, due to a "processing difficulty". The correlation between foreign accents and reduced credibility is explained by a fundamental and rather stupid behavior of the human brain: the harder something is to understand, the less true it is perceived as.

These findings underscore the insidious impact on millions of people who often communicate in a non-native language and can be very helpful to keep in mind if you're speaking to someone with a foreign accent or have one yourself.

Imitation game

Regarding the study of language and credibility, the opposite is also true: people with different accents have a tendency to unconsciously imitate each other in order to make themselves understood better. As a result, a British study found that imitation actually improves understanding of language.

General applied theory, cognitive fluency, basically measures how easy it is to process something for our mind and implies that people prefer to think about things that can be easily worked out before complex things. With that in mind, try to adapt a pedagogical approach, get straight to the point, don't overcomplicate things, and most importantly, let yourself be swayed by your fellow speaker accent.

Be a genius

A study called Fractionating Human Intelligence suggests a multi-component perspective on human intelligence, dividing it into three: short-term memory, reasoning, and a verbal component. According to this perspective, a person's general intelligence is the combined result of the three components, suggesting that intellectual ability can vary from one component to another. So, many of us are not minds in all three areas, but with this awareness, we can at least pretend we are.

Take notes during phone calls to support low short-term memory (as one of the many benefits of VoIP, it can also be done automatically). Take a deep breath and gather your mind, if your reasoning needs improvement, you can afford, since the other person can't see you, you know. Or, if you want to work on your verbal skills, be sure to prepare your arguments and practice the way you want to present them. You can even have them written in front of you!

Voice frying

“Vocal fry,” speaking in a low-pitched, rattling tone, has become a much adopted trend, often associated with more educated, upwardly mobile, and most commonly used by young American women. Ironically, shown in a US study, this way of speaking is - not - beneficial. Voice frying: ing is perceived negatively and will have a negative impact on business success. In the study, the participants' 80% preferred to hire people who spoke in a normal tone over those with a vocal chip.

Fred Flintstone's parts of our brains

An Australian project investigated the influence of names and found that pronunciation is important for reliability. A person with "an easy name" is generally considered more credible than a person with a name that is difficult to pronounce. Additionally, previous studies have found that people with easy names are more likely to be liked, fulfilled, and elected.

"For Fred Flintstone's parts of our brains, that feeling of familiarity signals something we can trust, but information that is difficult to process indicates danger." says Eryn Newman, lead author of the study. Maybe adopting a nickname when talking to global customers isn't a bad idea?

Lazy ways to look smarter

Mindy Cohen, founding director of Speech Pathology Services Atlanta, explains how business interaction is completely different from talking to close friends. We tend to choose our words very carefully simultaneously while focusing on monitoring the other person's signals. This makes us forget the "power of our voice" and how it can give away clues to our personality and moods. For example, a breathing voice may sound immature while a hoarse voice may be perceived as authoritative.

“Your voice is one of the first impressions you make when you meet someone and it may be the only impression that lasts. It identifies you from afar, sets you apart from others, and often reveals how you feel in a given situation. A full, resonant voice can communicate human and sensitive qualities, bring the narrative to life, express one's passion and conviction, and be a calming influence in the most severe circumstances. "

Mindy Cohen in Psychology Today

As a result, number 1 on PsyBlog's list of 10 lazy ways to look smarter is to speak with expression, because "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." This lazy way of optimizing the effectiveness of your voice includes speaking in an excited and energetic tone, varying the pitch and volume of your voice, and emphasizing certain words, which will make even the trivia seem intelligent.

Call the bluff

Another post on PsyBlog teaches us some of the proven lie detection factors and one of them suggests that vocal inflection is vital. In fact, sometimes it's even better not to make eye contact when trying to figure out if someone is lying or not, as the eyes are relatively easy to control. Evidently, lies are best detected when judging the rumor exclusively. This implies that 1) if you try to call a bluff - you should make a bluff call and 2) if you have something to hide, don't do it on the phone.

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