Are You Straining Your Voice with Vocal Fry?

You've probably never heard of vocal fry, but chances are you know what it sounds like. The Public Speaker explains why vocal fry can harm your voice and hurt your job prospects.

Lisa B. Marshall
3-minute read
Episode #275

Reason #3: Vocal Fry Hurts Women More than Men

If you are female, understanding the negative impact of vocal fry is especially important. The PLOSone study results showed that women were penalized for vocal fry more than men. While there’s no clear reason for this, it may be because vocal fry causes the speaker’s voice to drop to an abnormally low pitch. Since men’s voices are typically lower than women’s voices, the drop may be more noticeable in women.

How to Break the Vocal Fry Habit

If you want to improve your credibility and protect your vocal cords, I recommend keeping vocal fry out of your speech habits. If you’re not sure if you’re doing it, try recording your voice and listening for that gravelly, creaking sound at the end of your sentences.

Vocal coach Judy Rodman says there are a few exercises you can do to get rid of vocal fry. For example, she recommends using tongue twisters for practice. Try these:

  • red leather yellow leather
  • eleven benevolent elephants
  • good blood bad blood
  • you know you need unique New York

While saying the tongue twisters, if you end your phrase on a gravelly note, you have to start over.

Ms. Rodman also recommends focusing on speaking with active eyes and body language. When you engage your face and body, you’re more likely to speak with balanced breath and an open throat. This helps you stick with normal inflection instead of ending on a creaky note.

Vocal fry can be harmful to your vocal cords and to your professional image. Unless you’re not Kim Kardashian, you should let this trend pass you by. 

This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

If you want even more success in your life, I invite you to read my latest book, Smart Talk and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk:  Inspiring Conversations with Exceptional People.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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