People will judge you based on your looks and the sound of your voice, well before they actually listen to what you have to say. Fortunately, you have a lot of control over your appearance, and while your voice is harder to change, you can take steps to tame annoying habits like these:
1. The “Valley Girl or Guy.” With this voice type, people end sentences with rising intonation, so every sentence sounds like a question or exaggeration. It is often assumed that uptalkers lack confidence and maturity.
The fix: Vary your pitch by hitting high and low notes with your voice as you speak, not only at the tail-end of a sentence.
2. The “Inauthentic Baritone.” In this case, people use a much lower voice to try to sound more authoritative or confident than they are. It comes across as fake or forced.
The fix: Be natural. Sometimes you have to just deal with the voice that was dealt you, even if you feel you sound young. People will be more receptive to authenticity, anyway.
3. The “Vocal Fry.” This has become an epidemic, particularly among young women. It’s when a person speaks below their register and draws out their words, resulting in a creaky sound. The Kardashian sisters are notorious for it. Not only is it very harmful to the vocal chords, but it is very hard to listen to.
The fix: Speak in your normal register, inject emotion and vary your speed.
4. The “Whisperer.” Some people talk lowly because they want to force people to listen extra hard. While that sometimes works with one-on-one negotiations, when you talk too lowly, you force people to strain to hear, which is frustrating, or to tune you out altogether.
The fix: Talk loudly enough so that the person furthest from you can hear you—if that person is supposed to hear you. Talking where people not in the conversation can hear you is just plain rude.
— Adapted from “How to Develop a Speaking Voice That Makes People Want to Listen,” Nayomi Chibana, Visual Learning Center, blog.visme.co.