Sunday, 18 November 2012

Put a Smile in your Voice

I picked up a tip once that if you smile while you are talking on the phone, it will put a smile into your voice.  Try it - it works, and if you are lucky, the smile will stay on your face for quite a while and influence your day.  I have often thought that a smiley voice is so very important in so many phone-call situations.  You could be put at ease when making an appointment for a job interview, you could have your anger defused when calling your bank or an accounts department that has messed up, you could have your nerves turned into confidence when calling your doctor or dentist, you could have your irritation lessened when listening to unsolicited salestalk. There are two radio Talk Show hosts who make my day in this respect.  When they speak, you can hear that they are in the best place on the planet and they want you to join them.  One journo delivers our 'surf report' every morning and I promise you, he makes the sound, size and height of the waves around our coast sound so seductive and delicious, you just want to drop all your other plans and go out there and join him. He has a permanent laugh in his voice. He makes my day. By the same token, there are certain voices I cannot bear to listen to on the radio, although I am interested in the content of their shows. I just have to switch them off. Luckily, we are not all tarred with the same brush  (as my mother would say!). One voice I have loved above all others: sadly, he is no longer with us - that of Richard Burton.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for a Welsh accent. I'm also partial to the soft sing-song of the Australians on the program "Border Security".  "Are you quite sure this powder inside the teddy bear isn't cocaine, sir?" (rising intonation).  And there are certain American accents that are to my ear, irresistible - those of Kentucky and Texas.  Perhaps 'Distance lends enchantment to the ear'  (to slightly misquote the old saying).


  1. I was, just last night, thinking about the qualities of different voices, and how soothing some are and how others are like fingernails on a blackboard.
    Garrison Keillor has a mellow voice (listen to him at, but last night as I listened to him on Prairie Home Companion, his voice annoyed me. It must have been something else that was annoying me: it is a truth that Garrison Keillor has a mellow voice.
    And accents are fascinating to me. I would like to study such things some day.

  2. Yes, indeed! An accent can put personality and history of time and place in a voice. How did you come to like American Southern accents?

  3. For me it is Anthony Hopkins and Hellen Mirren for accents although I had a thing for Wilford Brimley's voice before he started doing commercials.

    George C. Scott was another voice I loved hearing.

  4. This is so true. At work I try to remember to smile more often since I'm on the phone a lot with rather needy people. It helps me and it helps them. However, I find nothing pleasurable in southern accents but that's probably because I live too close to it all. :)