Male or Female?


When it comes to an elearning voice-over, which works better? A male voice or a female voice?

Sometimes our preference for a particular gender for voice is driven by tradition and conditioning. It’s hard to find men being enthusiastic about lotions and lipsticks. Similarly, I’m not sure if a female voice can be too successful selling scotch and razors.

Even for gender-neutral topics, it seems like gender matters. At one of my previous workplaces, the sales team had a male and a female team member. They were both equally competent, but their results were different. Even though the male team member used the exact same pitch on the phone that his female colleague used, he rarely received a call back. The target audience was mostly men and they were easily persuaded by the female voice.

So would it have been the other way round, if the target audience was a bunch of women? And what if the audience was an equal mix of men and women, which voice would work better then? Is there no topic that is truly gender neutral? Are all topics like nouns in French; they all have genders. Is choosing a gender for a voice-over, actually quite straightforward? Or is it a complex affair that needs to take into account many different factors? These are all the questions in my head and I’m not sure if there is one right answer.

But let’s assume all things are equal – ability of the voice artist, voice quality, availability of talent, cost of hiring the talent, which voice would you go with, for your elearning voice-over?

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