Voice – The Original Information Superhighway

In the days before the printing press, most information in the world was conveyed through the oral tradition.

Imagine how important the voice was in those times.  There were dire consequences if you didn’t adequately:

•  transmit information about hunting and gathering food, enduring seasonal changes, building shelter, and navigating the landscape;

•  communicate the stories that formed your people’s culture;

•  convey the critical rituals of your spiritual tradition; or

•  instruct your children about what was expected of them.

Our species’ more recent dependence on the written word has eroded the value we put on the way we speak.

Here’s the funny thing – your voice is still an information superhighway.

Just by listening to the sound of your voice, people can determine all kinds of things about you:

•  age

•  mood

•  gender

•  energy level

•  educational background

•  region where you grew up

•  state of health

They can often tell if you really mean what you’re saying.  And you can tell when someone on the other end of the phone is distracted while they’re talking to you, right?

The ancient skill of speaking intentionally is still in our DNA.
As is our ability to deeply listen to what’s underneath each other’s words.

Try this: as you listen to people today, notice how much information you are picking up just from the sound of their voices.

About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
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6 Responses to Voice – The Original Information Superhighway

  1. Hi Barbara
    I’m so glad you’re doing this blog. Your message and your medium of delivery is so clear, true and strong! Many blessings to you for great joy and success in your work and play!

  2. Barbara in Robbinsdale says:

    When I’m on the phone with my mom, I can tell instantly if she’s just fine today, or in distress, whether large or small. I regret the amount of time we’ve taken away from vocal contact in lieu of electronic contact. (However, I’m enjoying this blog.)

  3. I especially like your phrase “the ancient skill of speaking intentionally”. So very powerful a concept…and practice. Thank you.

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