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The Lowdown on Voices

by Miki Saxon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aasg/1398431198/If you’re a guy how do you get more promotions and more compensation?

Pitch your voice lower.


What matters to people never fails to amaze me.

I remember when John Kerry was running for president and there were more comments about his hair than his policies.

It’s bad enough that humans are predisposed to gravitate to attractiveness, but now voice tone is in the same class.

They wanted to find out whether deep voices correlated with success, since prior research has shown that Barry White-like bass is often preferable when it comes to selecting a mate.
A separate Duke study last year also found that voters favor political candidates with deeper voices.

Does a deep voice just open doors or is it more than that?

That benefit proved true even when controlling for a leader’s experience, education, dominant facial features and other variables that might sway decisions of recruiters and compensation committees.

Well, that’s depressing.

Just how big a deal is this?


The median CEO, with a  125.5 Hz vocal frequency, earned $3.7 million, ran a $2.4 billion company and was 56 years old.

Not bad, but researchers found that executives with voices on the deeper (that is, lower-frequency) end of the scale earned, on average, $187,000 more in pay and led companies with $440 million more in assets.

(For a reference point, James Earl Ray’s voice is around 85Hz.)

Another question is whether what’s sauce for the gander applies equally to the goose, but there’s no way to answer that one.

Mayew says he would like to assess the voices of women executives as well, but he says there aren’t enough for a statistically meaningful study quite yet. At last count, there were just 21 women CEOs in the Fortune 500.

Welcome to the modern Stone Age world of corporate America.

Flickr image credit: MyAngelG

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