Effective interviewers use vocal qualities to enhance rapport, communicate interest and empathy, and emphasize speci?c issues or con?icts. In general, interviewers’ voices should be soft yet ?rm, indicating both sensitivity and strength. As with body language, it is often useful to follow the client’s lead, speaking in a volume and tone similar to the client. Meier and Davis refer to this practice as “pacing the client” .
On the other hand, interviewers can use voice tone, as with all interviewer responses and directives, to lead clients toward particular content or feelings. For example, speaking in a soft and gentle tone encourages clients to explore their feelings more thoroughly, and speaking with increased rate and volume may help convince them of your credibility or expertise .
Although people perceive emotions through all sensory modalities, some research suggests that people discern emotions more accurately from auditory than from visual input . This ?nding underscores the importance of vocal qualities in emotional expression and perception. Actors use their entire bodies, including their voices, when portraying various emotions. As an interviewer, your voice quality in?uences your client’s emotional expression.
It is crucial for interviewers to accurately track what clients say. Although eye contact, body language, and vocal quality are important, they do not, by themselves, represent effective listening. Interviewers demonstrate an ability to track the content of their clients’ speech by occasionally repeating key words and phrases. In most cases, clients do not know if you are really hearing what they’re saying unless you prove it through accurate verbal tracking.