Researchers at UCLA and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business are discovering how voice tone affects careers.
In a UCLA study, researchers found that charismatic leaders use their voice to their advantage. While some characteristics of charisma are in-born, others can be developed.
Acoustic scientist Rosario Signorella, interviewed by in a Wall Street Journal article, emphasized a leader's ability to manipulate his or her voice:
"My research shows that charismatic leaders of any type in any culture tend to stretch their voice to the lower and higher limits during a public speech, which is the most important and risky context of communication for leadership. . . . The voice is a tool that can be trained. Singers and actors train their voices to reach higher or lower frequencies. A leader-speaker should do the same."
A related Duke study analyzed 792 male CEOs in major companies and found that those with lower voices made more money, managed larger firms, and stayed in their CEO positions longer.
- Why would male CEOs with lower voices enjoy such positive career outcomes? What's at play here?
- The UCLA study and second Duke study included only males. What, if any, conclusions might be drawn for women?