Let your voice be heard

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Elizabeth Newman
Elizabeth Newman

It's always rewarding to meet our readers, but one recent interaction has stuck with me: An administrator at the LeadingAge annual meeting last fall abruptly stopped by the McKnight's booth and said to me, “I recognize your voice!”

I've made a conscious effort to work on how I sound when I moderate webinars for McKnight's, both in trying to slow down and in trying to enunciate. This can backfire — I can start channeling Margaret Thatcher — but it stems from past criticism that sometimes I can mumble. Also, I'm from Virginia, and can occasionally start drawling.

The importance of how we sound as professionals, and how we are heard by those in positions of power, is reflected in a new study out from University of Chicago researchers. They found that a job candidate's appeal was boosted when an evaluator heard a pitch in person.

"The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate's Appeal" is to be published in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Psychological Science. The study had evaluators judging spoken pitches by either watching and listening to a video recording, listening to the audio only, or reading a transcript of the pitch. Evaluators who heard the pitch liked the candidate more when compared to reading a transcript, with no meaningful difference between the video and audio recordings.

University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Nicholas Epley says the pros in auditory processing reflects how a person's speech conveys, in the mind of the evaluator, their capacity to think, reason and be intelligent.

"When conveying intelligence, it's important for one's voice to be heard — literally,” he said.

This data gives long-term care executives and hiring managers a chance to reflect on perception of interviewees. Most hiring systems require a culling of resumes, and eventually meeting top candidates in person. Yet it's not a secret many people land jobs through someone they know, professionally or personally. The research lends credence to the idea that going to long-term care conferences and actively networking can help your career. It also may be a good indicator of why our webinars and upcoming Online Expo are so successful — people are more likely to trust someone whose voice they've heard, especially if they're conveying solid information.

Whether it's via video, a webinar or in person, don't hesitate to take your ideas beyond paper. It's always tempting to worry about “wasting someone's time” by pitching in person. But whether you are trying to get good publicity for your facility, or trying to sell your local hospital on a partnership, the research shows you're more likely to be listened to if you can be heard.

Elizabeth Newman is Senior Editor at McKnight's Long-Term Care News. Follow her @TigerELN.

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.