Annette C. Hollmann
ah690549 at bcm.tmc.edu
Tue Oct 28 14:36:14 EST 1997
In article <632kju$duk at mule.fhcrc.org> mbrown at fred (Megan Brown) writes:
>While attending a small (150 people) conference for the last couple of
>days, I was struck by a problem that a few women speakers had--they were
>too soft-spoken and their presentation could not be heard!
>The conference room has a nice acoustic design and I have spoken in it
>several times without a microphone with no difficulties. For this
>conference,there was indeed a microphone, but unfortunately it broke
>temporarily and was unavailable for several hours. During this time
>were a number of 10 minute talks by students and postdocs, both male and
>female. All the men were able to sufficiently raise their voices so that
>they could be heard throughout the room. But a couple of the women had
>problems with this.
A think a deeper voice does intrinsically carry further, but this is just
an observation from 5 years of dorm life.
It was very frustrating for the audience. The women in
>question were not first year grad students either. They were postdocs
>by now in their careers must have given numerous talks. How could it be
>that they hadn't learned to raise their voices in all these years?
I can't raise my voice much either. I have asthma, and a combination of
inhalers and recurrent infections does quite a number on the old voice
box. Reduced lung capacity doesn't help either.
>During the first couple of minutes of one woman's talk, she was asked 3
>separate times to speak up. She would perhaps raise her voice for about
>words and then go back to her soft-spoken presentation that no one could
>hear. Quite a few in audience got fed up and used this time to excuse
>themselves from the hall for a break.
>So my suggestion to women (and men, who can also be soft-spoken) for
>presentations is to make sure you raise your voice loud enough to be
>heard. You can't get your message out if no one can hear you.
If you are cursed with a voice that's not quite up to par, you can make up
for it by preparing better slides/overheads. I always make sure that all
figures are well-labelled and simple enough that I could get the
information across even if I couldn't talk at all (which hasn't quite
happened yet, but sometimes it's been pretty darned close)
>I was left wondering if this inability (or unwillingness) of some women
>talk loud enough was physiological or sociological--maybe some women
>been socialized to not talk too loud because it is not ladylike?.
It probably varies among individuals. I'm definitely *not* ladylike - I
just don't have much of a voice.
More information about the Womenbio