Have you heard about the style of speaking called “vocal fry”? It’s a gravelly, low sound that is most commonly heard at the ends of sentences. The mysterious fame of Kim Kardashian brought this style of talking into the public eye, or rather, ear.
Fry was named because the pops and creaks made someone think it sounded like bacon frying (I’m not making that up). Everyone has a little fry some of the time (especially if we are sick or vocally tired), but some people have made it a permanent way of talking. So what is it, exactly?
Fry requires two things: a fairly low pitch, and minimal exhalation while talking (check out previous entries to learn more about how breath affects the sound of your voice). To many people it sounds disinterested or bored, and it lacks vibrancy, pitch variety, and expressiveness. In other words, too cool for school. It also can’t be projected, so it lacks power.
Another school of thought sees it as a feminist issue, since fry (and the criticism of it) is most commonly associated with younger women. The admonition to “sound more professional” can be taken as disrespect for who someone is and how they express themselves. See my previous post on “Talking While Female” for more on this topic.
A good voice coach can help you maintain your identity while meeting any vocal demands of the workplace. If fry is part of your repertoire, and if there are times when it does not create the vocal image you want, there are ways to find balance. Schedule a session now to learn more.