Personal branding lessons from Marilyn Monroe’s wet voice

Wind and smoke…

Cotton candy…

The slow opening and closing of a pink cashmere sweater…

Champagne lava…

These were a few of the many ways that people have described Marilyn Monroe’s voice.

But linguists use a different word…

They call it “wet.”

What is a wet voice, exactly? I’ll describe it, right here in this video.

At the 2018 Archangel Summit, I described a few physiological cues of fascination.
Here’s why linguists describe Marilyn Monroe’s voice as “wet.”

We salivate when we see delicious food, receive praise, or experience happiness. Your listener subconsciously reads these cues, and perceives you as confident and approachable.

Marilyn Monroe’s famously breathy voice was not only moist, it was also aspirated. We all naturally “aspirate” our voices– increasing the amount of air through the vocal chords, as if whispering– when we feel close. (Cue your mental replay of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”)

When your voice sounds strong and fluid, you’ll be perceived as confident and authentic.

But when you feel awkward — for instance, when a pitch goes badly, or you get stressed by sudden conflict – your brain shoots a zap of fight-or-flight epinephrine, making your mouth go dry. That can damage your personal brand.

If your words sound dry and timid, you’ll be perceived as insecure, or even untrustworthy.

Every time you communicate, you can captivate people by feeling confident and authentic. When you do, they’ll remember you, talk about you, and most of all, buy from you.

You might just say… fascination is your perfect mate.

Do you know someone you think uses their own wet voice? Let them know just how fascinating it makes them by sending them here.

I want to know: When do YOU feel most confident, so your voice is strong? Tell me in the comments, below!

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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

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