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With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Friday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in November 2011.

Have you ever listened to a recording of your voice and cringed?

Perhaps you were surprised about how nasally or high-pitched it was, or how hard you were to understand. Perhaps in that moment you wished for a manlier, more pleasant-sounding voice.

A deep, strong, masculine voice is not without its benefits. Women prefer men with deeper voices, and find what they say more memorable than men with higher-pitched ones. And a strong, deep voice can make a man seem more confident and authoritative.

But here’s the deal: There isn’t much we can do to deepen our voices substantially. You’re pretty much stuck with the voice nature gave you. So if you sound like Super Mario (or, God bless you, Toad), you’ll probably never sound like Sean Connery. Sorry.

But you know what? That’s okay.

You don’t have to have a rich baritone voice to be successful in love or life. Instead, you just need to make the most of what you’ve got. Today we’ll cover how to do that.

Watch the Video

Why You Need to Stop Trying to Sound Like James Earl Jones

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You’re working against nature. The deepness of a voice is primarily determined by the length and thickness of the vocal cords. Longer and thicker vocal cords produce lower, James Earl Jones-like pitches. So, if you want a deeper voice, you just need to thicken and lengthen your vocal cords. Easy, right?

Hate to break it to you, but unless you can travel back in time to when you were 12 years old, there’s nothing you can do to naturally lengthen and thicken your vocal cords. Puberty was your magic window for developing that signature Darth Vadar voice.

Remember all that embarrassing voice cracking? That was your vocal cords being exposed to increased amounts of testosterone. As your body went into testosterone overdrive during puberty, the hormone went to work on your vocal cords, causing them to lengthen and thicken. Boys who produced more testosterone during puberty turned into men with thicker and longer vocal cords, and consequently, naturally deeper voices. (Researchers theorize that this, by the way, is why women prefer deeper voices; they signal that a man has more T, which back in primitive times might of meant he was a stronger and more virile protector and provider.)

It can damage your voice. Because men usually want a deeper voice than the one they have, they’ll artificially lower it by projecting their voice from the lower part of their throat. To hear and feel what I mean, speak in the lowest pitch that you can, and pay attention to where you feel the sound emanating.

Did you do it? You felt the vibrations primarily in your throat, right?

While you may feel uber-manly talking with that low voice, you’re actually doing damage to your vocal cords. Consistently producing sound primarily from your lower throat does some major wear and tear. If you lose your voice or feel hoarse frequently, it’s probably because you’re speaking with an artificially low pitch.

John F. Kennedy had this problem. In

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