Amy Cuddy revealed in her famous TED talk that standing in a confident pose measurably BOOSTS the level of testosterone in the brain (the hormone largely associated with confidence) and LOWERS the level of cortisol (the hormone most associated with stress.)
She called it “Power Posing.”
I asked Julian Treasure (who gave another of the top 10 most viewed TED talks of all time) whether the same was true for speaking in a confident voice. Here’s his response…
Certainly, more research needs to be done, but it makes sense to ask the question. If the position of your face and body can affect your brain, then why not the position of your vocal chords?
Julian’s response leads me to believe that there is a virtuous cycle going on here. When it comes to body and voice, one hand washes the other. Perhaps this is why telephone operators are trained to smile while they speak. Even though the person on the other end can’t SEE the smile, they can HEAR it in the sound of the voice.
What do we call this mysterious relationship between voice and confidence? The Morgan Freeman impression effect? Intoned cognition? Power throating?
One thing is for sure. I’m going to continue using Julian Treasure’s vocal warm-up exercises before each and every speaking gig. Awkward moments in the green room be damned. It’s worth it when I can step onto a stage with confidence.
How You Can Use This
Why not warm up your voice when you’re in the car on the way to a job interview, an important meeting, a presentation, or even (perhaps especially) a date? Nothing beats a confident first impression and what could be simpler than rolling some R’s, making a few horse noises, doing weird stuff with your tongue, and pretending to be a fire truck?
Just don’t let anyone catch you.