The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it's your voice that's your real secret weapon.
New research suggests that spoken word (a.k.a., your voice) may well be what sells people on your abilities, not your eloquent way with words. So the next time you're presented with a chance at getting any face time with a key mentor or investor, jump on it.
Through a series of experiments, researchers from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and the University of California, Berkeley discovered that spoken language most clearly reveals a person's thinking ability. This study was detailed in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
Researchers asked MBA students to prepare a pitch to their preferred employers explaining why they should be hired. The presentation was videotaped, recorded and transcribed.
Then, evaluators were asked to either watch a video, listen to a pitch or read a transcript. On average, the evaluators who heard pitches found the candidates more intelligent. There was no statistically significant difference, but the evaluators who watched the videos appeared the most impressed.
To see if these results translated into the real world, the researchers asked recruiters from top-notch companies like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs to listen to a candidate's pitch or to read a transcript. On average, they found candidates more intelligent, likable and employable when they heard rather than read their pitch.
These results may come as a surprise to you, but you're not alone. When the researchers asked students, local community members and online participants whether they thought their intelligence would be judged more positively in speech or text, most expected no difference.
Though putting thoughts in writing allows for revision, text ultimately lacks paralinguistic cues that offer important information about a speaker's thinking ability. These critical cues are communicated through the subtle changes in a speaker's tone, volume, pace and pitch.
In other words, the key to impressing recruiters and investors alike lies in the power of your voice.