Use Your Vocal Tools to Improve Your Phone Voice

phone voice

Think for a moment about Morgan Freeman’s voice. It’s a hard voice not to love. We hear it everywhere and immediately recognize it.

When researching this piece, I even came across this Time article that describes how science explains why we love his voice. Based on all the voice-over work Morgan Freeman gets, it certainly isn’t a stretch to claim he has a million dollar voice.

Your voice makes an impression. It matters in face-to-face interactions. It’s doubly important when on the telephone because the receiver can’t see your expressions, gestures, or other body language.

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You and I will likely never have a voice as cool as Morgan Freeman’s, but that doesn’t mean we can learn to use these seven vocal tools to better convey our emotions and intentions.


Too loud comes across as harsh or aggressive. Too soft can be hard to hear and creates the impression that you are timid.


Too fast is hard to follow, especially when language barriers exist. It can also create the impression that you are trying to pull a fast one.

Too slow can be boring. You might also create the impression that you aren’t very bright.


Creates emotion and interest. It gives your voice a melodic quality that can, if used well, make you easier to listen to. Most of the time article focuses on the idea that people respond better to lower voices. Interestingly, once when working with a voice coach, she told me I should allow my voice to sound at a higher, more natural pitch for me.


The sound that distinguishes one voice from another. While it’s difficult to change, you might have to work on it if your natural timbre creates misunderstandings. For example, voices that sound sinister or whiny can create real problems for you. It might not be fair that your natural voice works against you, but if it does, you should know it and consider options for modifying it.


This is bringing attention to specific words or syllables to make your point more clear. I used to have a pastor who always managed to emphasize certain words in just the right way. I wanted to understand his thinking so I could be more purposeful in the words I emphasize.


This is the clarity with which you speak. It helps the listener distinguish one sound from another so that they can hear the specific words. This is far more important in telephone conversation than in face-to-face interactions.

When I first started doing training, a workshop participant offered this feedback, “You don’t vocally distinguish between picture and pitcher.” He thought I should, and after giving his feedback some thought, decided that he was right.


The space between the words can add meaning. Use them intentionally to create a powerful impact.

It’s often the case that how you say it matters much more than what you say. When you are on the telephone, pay greater attention to your vocals. Use your tools to create the impression you intend.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.