By Stephanie Ciccarelli
November 29, 2010
Have you ever thought of the potential ramifications of sounding "too" professional?
Even though you have a polished, trained voice and that usually serves as a benefit, sometimes you'll find that no matter how well you believe you did, the client would beg to differ.
Learn more in today's VOX Daily.
A number of years ago, I took part in a competition where you had to do a :60 pitch for your company that outlined who you were, what you did and how you could help others. The pitch was crafted, memorized and timed to the second with the goal of winning or at least placing in the top 3.
Coming from a performing arts background, I thought this would be easy, and to a degree it was.
I practiced, (perhaps too much!) for this competition and took it seriously. As the last person to go, I tried my best not to forget any of my talking points and when it was my turn, took the stage.
At the end of the competition, the judges said that my pitch was the best they had heard all day! You'd think this would be a good thing...
When the winners were announced later on at a community event, you can imagine my shock and surprise at having not even placed.
After pondering their decision and talking to a few people about what might have happened in the deliberation, it would have appeared that I sounded too professional and lacked a conversational approach. The pitch was too polished, too persuasive and not what they were looking for.
My performance seemed like it was being given to thousands of people from the stage and not to someone one-on-one in a more intimate speaking style.
It's nearly 4 years since this happened so I have the benefit of retrospect, and hindsight, being 20/20, can now see clearly why the judges were not prone to rewarding such gusto.
They didn't want to be sold, however, they wanted to be engaged. They also wanted to feel like they were the only ones in the room that mattered.
I find that this concept and vocal delivery edges on a fine line in voice over, especially when you are recording a commercial or a piece that involves persuasion or the selling of an idea. Over the last three years, I've learned a great deal about the "real person" voice and the trend of speaking in a conversational manner.
People who come from a broadcast background in particular often struggle with sounding like a real person, that is, not falling back into their default announcer or on-air persona when interpreting a script.
Sounding like you are speaking to an audience of one, when in reality you're speaking to hundreds, thousands if not millions of people, is a skill that takes time and practice to develop.
How did you settle into your "real person" read? What do you do in advance to sound as authentic, personable and intimate as possible?
Looking forward to your response!
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