Friday, November 30, 2012

On Sounding Manly, Lie Training, And Laughing At Sick Pets

Apparently, my voice is too high for a lawyer's voice. I've been acutely and self-consciously aware of this fact since a partner at a prior firm mentioned this to me over a year ago. He then proceeded to give me tips on how to sound more authoritative. He quipped that an older female client doesn't sound very assured when her lawyer sounds young and high-pitchy.

His point was well made. I took it to heart. Ever since then, I've struggled to sound more authoritative. It's really hard to talk in a deeper voice on purpose and to not sound like a raspy serial killer.

Although I'm trying, I haven't quite mastered the skill. Occassionally, when I'm not thinking about it or when I'm caught off guard, I will resort to my high-pitched "phone" voice. The former partner who originally mentioned this whole thing to me over a year ago is now my current boss. And today, after a phone conferece with another attorney, he mentioned it to me again.

It's frustrating. He's 100% right. I need to sound more like a lawyer. And unfortunately, that means sounding more masculine. The frustrating thing is that it's simply not easy to change your voice and still sound natural. I need more practice or just some better tips/training.

Not only does my boss think I need to sound more authoritative, he thinks I need training on how to "lie." I have to admit that when it comes to lying, I suck. I almost always crack a huge suspicious grin when pressed. I tend to think this is a QUALITY in my character, not a deficit. But my boss decided that my "lie" training should start today. (p.s., my boss is actually a funny and awesome guy, this isn't as bad as it sounds and is mostly just in good fun). When we called up a colleague about meeting for happy hour, my boss challenged me to give the receptionist a pretent name.

"Hello, how may I direct your call."'
"Yes. Can I speak to Sarah please."
"Who may I ask is calling?"
"Wait, is this CP?"
"....giggle, giggle. YES!"

Not only did I fail at lying, but the sweet old lady receptionist sounded pretty annoyed by what she called my "prank." I immediately called her back to apologize. I was going to explain about my "lie training." Because THAT sounds completely normal, right? But as soon as I said I was sorry, she told me she had to go and promptly hung up. Now I feel HORRIBLE! I'm pretty sure it's horrific karma to eff with a receptionist. I'm sure that's in a rule book somewhere.

See. Lying is bad. It gets you in trouble. Lawyers do not need help tarnishing the reputation of their profession. I think from now on, I will stick to simply "molding the facts to fit my theory of the case."

After work, we eventually did meet up with our former coworkers for happy hour. We all used to work at the same firm about two years ago. Some of us left. Some of us left and returned. Some of us are still there. I love this group. They are my favorite people ever. If I could build my ideal law firm with all my favorite people to work with, they would be there. We're loud. We're rowdy. We're inappropriate. We're such a diverse group of individual that from the outside, we do not look like we would all be friends. It's amazing how a workplace can bring all different types of people together and give us something in common. I love it.

During happy hour I drank just one beer and that was enough to get me in trouble. By the end of happy hour, I was in an uncontrollable giggling rage. (Talk about trying to sound more authoritative!). Everything seemed funny to me and I couldn't stop laughing. Unfortunately, this is when someone started to talk about their dog having cancer. My beer was still in full force and I giggled through the whole sad story. I am SO going to hell. (On the positive: hell is more likely to have beer).

I arrived home late but with just enough time to cuddle my baby and hang out with my big kid before  bed. I'm so looking forward to spending an entire weekend with them. Even when they are cranky and whinny. Happy hours put everything into a good perspective. I guess that's why they are called "happy" hours.

1 comment:

  1. My firm had all the female associates sit through an hour-long DVD presentation on sounding more authoritative. Using intonation to end every sentence as if it's a question seems to be a thing in Southern California. Not good for credibility, but I'm not sure it's a young women only thing (at least in SoCal).