First impressions are often made quickly. Regarding ‘the voice,’ the first impression is usually decided by the audience or listener after only the first 6 seconds, according to some surveys.
Challenging the accuracy of the previous statement, I opted to run my own study to test how long the voice is heard before the first impression is decided.
First, I recorded, “Good morning everyone. The weather today is cloudy with occasional showers. Although, you can expect warm temperatures later this afternoon…..” I read the sentences slowly without frequent pauses as much as possible. Then, I read the same sentences again. Secondly with a clear voice and finally with a thick voice.
I then played the recording to a target audience.
Before starting the test, I asked them, “Please tell me the exact moment in time (to the second) when your first impression was decided after hearing the voices.”
As a result, the average time was approximately 3 seconds.
Of course, they accurately judged the delivery and overall impression also, categorizing the voices as: Good voice, Reliable voice, Terrible voice, or Weird voice.
However, some of the results did have subjective judgment, and were vague in details when targeted for comparison.
Therefore, I think that 3 seconds is not the absolute value of the total impression as a whole. Although it is certain that the vocal impression was made faster than the impression of appearance.
In the case of appearance, the subjects decided the overall total impression after observing the face, attitude and factoring in subjective personal preference.
This study concludes that people make the impression after thinking.
However, in the case of voice, people make an intuitive almost immediate decision about the initial impression.
When I attended at audition for a record company I observed that the judges, judged soon after the song was sang. This is a very fair approach. Similar to when a person previews a CD for purchase. Usually not every song on the album is good. A lot of the time we purchase it anyway, using fair judgment, factoring the quality of the album as a whole, not just one song.
Vocal impressions are steadfast, so be mindful next time you make a vocal impression.
Note:In the case of singing, the impression is decided by the first one phrase. The impression of singing usually only has two initial impressions, ‘good at singing’ or ‘bad at singing.’
Furthermore, once people make a decision regarding a first impression, it cannot be changed easily.
We tend to decide that a person is a good singer if they are good at the starting point. Hence, if they are off to a bad start we tend to label them as a bad singer.