What type of voice do you prefer? Do you prefer to listen to a male or female? Why?
In my time here in the Voice department, I’ve had some interesting requests and concerns from clients when it comes to voice talent. So that got me thinking, “Why do our clients choose the voice talents that they do?” And what happens to our brains when we hear different voices?
These thoughts inspired me to do a little research, and I came across several studies with really interesting points.
Typically, men prefer to hear women’s voices, especially if they’re higher pitched, and women prefer to hear men’s voices, especially if they’re lower pitched. Each voice gives the listener a very specific mental image equated with body type and femininity or masculinity (think Barbie and Darth Vader with nothing in between). We just create the picture in our mind.
The studies also show that a deeper woman’s voice is more memorable to the listener, making it easier for the brain to retain information, while a low-pitched man’s voice conveys leadership to the listeners, making them more eager to do what the speaker says.
Another study I came across yielded one of my favorite results; We often prefer voices that are similar to our own. There are a couple reasons for this preference:
- It makes us feel as if we are part of certain social group
- It helps us to tune out other noises around us and focus on what the other person is saying
This is backed up with a study that showed the human brain was more active with the recognition of familiar words. Put simply, “When we hear someone talk, different areas in the brain ‘light up’ as we hear the stream of different speech elements.” Here’s a video that shows how the brain responds when we hear sounds that are familiar to us.
So, have you ever thought that much about the voices that you hear? From my experience with Voice, I think it’s for the reasons mentioned above that make what we do such a powerful marketing tool. It’s why we have so many different voice talents for our clients to choose from. Not only do we want the clients to be able to pick a voice that suits their marketing needs, but one that they also feel comfortable listening to. We want to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients when it comes to the voice selections.
The main idea that I learned in the research that I did boils down to this: the voice is a powerful tool. The voice is a rich source of information that it not only helps us communicate, which is kind of important in society, but also has the ability to convey biological information, social classifications, and emotional states.
So when I’m dealing with clients, I just need to remember that even though a voice may sound fine to me, it may not sound fine to the client. Each client has the influence of different voices, ideas, and understandings of what makes the perfect voice. But one thing remains the same, the voice is a powerful marketing tool and we at Mood are always working on making it the best!
– Submitted by Tiffani Fisher, Voice
Great post Tiffani. You said “Each voice gives the listener a very specific mental image equated with body type and femininity or masculinity (think Barbie and Darth Vader with nothing in between). We just create the picture in our mind.” Makes me think of my reaction every time I meet a voice talent in person for the first time. I find my mental picture is rarely close to reality, but I think this is a good thing. A simple voice allows us to convey a message without tying to a person’s looks or specific visual, allowing each listener to create their own (pleasing) mental picture.