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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Why all auctioneers sound (at least slightly) different

Our palates, tongues, and teeth are all formed differently. There are certain things one person’s mouth and vocal cords can do that may not be able to be achieved by another person.

However, have you heard a father and son as auctioneers sound similar?  Have you heard mother and daughter as auctioneers sound similar?  It’s likely more than just a father or mother teaching his or her son or daughter and more likely genetics.

Can an auctioneer work to change his or her chant?  Certainly one can, but there will be limitations based upon the physical makeup of that auctioneer’s bones and muscle structure in addition to lung and breathing capacity.

Chants are changing — from the 1990’s when a super-fast chant was desirable to the early 2000’s when fast and clear was more in demand.  As we’ve noted before, if the bidders can’t understand the auctioneer, there’s little commerce taking place.

Additionally, chants vary depending on the market.  Car auctioneers seem to be the “fastest talkers” but their audiences are used to that.  Livestock auctioneers work more on a rhythmic chant which is a bit slower.  Benefit auctioneers typically talk even slower, but customarily with more conversation and enthusiasm.

That auction in the back yard of a neighborhood with a good number of first-time attendees is likely the time to slow the chant a bit until they are able to get used to the speed.  Nothing turns off a first-time auction attendee more than an auctioneer he or she can’t understand.

We’ve written before about taking care of yourself, including your vocal cords and related here:  and some common vocal myths here:

Finally, you’re an auctioneer and you have had difficulty sounding just like that champion auctioneer you somewhat worship.  It may be you’ll never sound just like him or her due to you being a different person with your own unique genetics.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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