1. Say it with a smile: When you’re talking on the phone with someone, you can hear them smiling or frowning, can’t you? It’s the same when you’re recording something for VO. If you’re not smiling, it’s impossible to sound happy. Just try it. Say some good news out loud but say it frowning….See? You gotta smile!
2. Emphasize the product: If you’re doing a commercial spot or an advertisement for something where you’re the voice selling the product, it helps to highlight that product’s name. Be wary of making it sound forced though, just remember a little emphasis adds a lot of oomph.
3. Stop reading the script: Have you ever gone to listen a speech where it’s very clear the speaker is just reading their notes verbatim? Snooze factor, right? Even though you’re reading a script, make it sound conversational, like you’re chatting with your friend.
4. Chat with a child: Along the lines of making your reads sound like you’re chatting with your friend, try to go even deeper and make it sound like you’re chatting with a young child. This typically makes you sound friendlier and more enthusiastic.
5. Pace yourself: A common tendency when reading scripts is to read them way too quickly. Slow down there, buckaroo! Your audience wants to hear you and not have to decipher what you might be saying.
6. Express yourself: Madonna was on to something when she sang those two lyrics. In voice-over, you need to be expressive and believable. You don’t have to be over the top expressive, but you definitely need to deliver a bit of a theatrical read to keep your listeners entertained, especially if your voicing the commercial that’s preventing them from watching their favorite sitcom at that moment!
7. Play with characters: Get out of that comfort zone of yours and play around with various characters that you’ve created. In order to convey the right feeling you need to analyze the copy and view it as completely different and new than anything else you’ve voiced. Developing and embracing new copy is a really fun way to get into different types of characters you may not even knew you had inside you!
8. Gimme a dose of inflection: If you’re voicing a commercial, an excellent voice-over technique to use is to begin your read at a slightly higher pitch and then let your voice fall a little. Beginning a copy with a higher pitch level grabs the listener’s attention.
9. You’re darn good at what you do: Believe that! I know, I know, it’s impossible to feel confident all the time but confidence gets you places, gets you jobs, and most importantly, helps you read copy with that special “je ne sais quois.” So do what you need to do to start feeling as confident as you can. This could be via exercise, positive self-talk, daily affirmations, meditation, or therapy, to name a few. As long as you do you and you do it with confidence, that’ll shine through in your reads.
10. Mysterious like Casey Kasem: Remember Casey Kasem’s American Top 40? If you said no, navigate to Google and educate yourself on some pop culture! If you said yes, do you also remember how he used a tactic much like mysteriously whispering out of the stereo speakers? That was intentional and he was good at it. If your script warrants it, a little mysterious breathy voice-over can go a long way.
What are some voice-over techniques that you use? Write them in the comments below!
Don’t forget to also engage with other voice talents on our Facebook page and share your experiences about Such A Voice!
About the Author
Bekka is a copywriter, scriptwriter and copy editor at Such A Voice. She’s also an English Language teacher forcing fun grammar activities onto unsuspecting students in Barcelona, Spain. She’s currently studying an online Diploma course for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Trinity College in London and will be pursuing a Master’s in Linguistics in Fall 2018. When she’s not studying, writing, editing or teaching, she’s sure to be found hiking mountains, reading books, and eating her way through many European cities.