NPR-quality voice?

I was at a job interview today. For my job application, I needed to submit three letters of recommendation. As I was sitting down with my two interviewers, one of them said, “We were looking forward to meeting you in person, because one of your recommenders said that you have an ‘NPR-quality’ voice.”

It’s not the first time that I heard that comment. David E. Barta once told me that in a tweet. But other people have commented on my voice. Some have said that it’s “crisp” or “professional” or “soothing.”

When people mention my voice, they tend to mention my diction and pronunciation. I tend to articulate my words clearly, with minimal slurring. I’m not sure how I learned to talk this way. My brother doesn’t talk I do. My parents don’t talk I do (although they both have excellent English). None of the friends with whom I grew up talk like I do. It’s bizarre, really. Maybe my parents can share when I started talking this way.

Part of the character of my voice is also my choice of words. I am careful in choosing my words, sometimes too cautious. There are times in which my brain gets stuck in selecting the next word in the sentence, and there is a long pause while I try to get unstuck. It’s a bit embarrassing, but I try to get over it. And I’m learning that it’s OK to not have the exact right word. Language should make communication easier, not harder.

Now I’m wondering which of my three letter writers mentioned my voice. Or maybe it was all three?

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