By Stephanie Ciccarelli
January 13, 2011
Usually the voices you hear on auto attendants, interactive voice response, messaging on hold and voice mail services are female but that doesn't mean that there aren't men recording for telephony.
On my quest to highlight this avenue of work for male voice over talent, I heard from a number of your colleagues who do voices for telephone systems.
Find out how many male voice talent featured on Voices.com are offering these services in today's VOX Daily.
Recently, I overheard someone say that voice over work in terms of telephony is almost exclusively associated with the female voice. While that may be the perception, male voice talent are in demand and do get work in this area of voice over.
While there isn't a "men need not apply" sign pinned on this niche, I think we do need to acknowledge how telephony voice over work, though dominated by women, still holds the potential for male voices to shine.
If we were to draw comparisons, consider how movie trailer voice over and promo are very much male dominated fields with very few women among their peers. Notice that I said "very much," and not "exclusive to." Although telephony is chiefly comprised of female voice talent, the procurement of male voice talent for this purpose is present and could even start increasing its share of the market given people were more open to a male voice on their phone system.
Women tend to book a lot of telephony work because their voices, depending on the talent, may be perceived as more soothing, friendlier and helpful. That being said, you're more likely to hear a female voice on the other end of the line than not. Part of this may also have to do with how automated voice messaging systems have replaced secretaries to a degree; secretarial work being a traditionally female occupation.
The female voice has different attributes that lend themselves well to telephony... but that isn't to say that men are incapable of sounding warm, friendly and polished.
In fact, there are some companies that tend to work with more male voice talent than female for telephony voice over work.
Female voice over professional Kristi Stewart shared some insight that I think the gentlemen reading this article will appreciate and be encouraged by.
Kristi added, "I beg to differ. I've been doing voicemail / telephony voiceovers for over a decade and there are plenty of men in the business. As a matter of fact, one of my clients employs several male announcers, and oftentimes, I'm given a voiceover script that is divided half male/half female---so, there you go!"
Part of Voices.com's history in corporate branding also supports Kristi's statement. The very first professionally produced voice over recording we had made for our phone system was recorded by male voice talent, Brian Bascle.
When I did a search on Voices.com in our directory in the Telephone category a few minutes ago and then narrowed the search down by gender (male), I found that there were 1223 male voice talent who had telephone voiceover demos.
That's quite a few!
Now for the shocker... at the time of this typing, there were only 1214 women with telephone voice over demos... hmmm... I'm not a mathematician, but the men outnumber the women in terms of promoting themselves in this field.
Rachel Ogilvy, the current voice of British Telecom, mentioned that there are many male telephony voices in the United Kingdom who record mostly mobile phone networks. Something interesting to think about.
A number of men came forward to let me know that they do telephone voice over work including George Washington III, Ralph Hass, and Erick Abraham to name just a few. I also heard from Neil Herrmann, the former voice of IKEA North America's telephone IVR systems for 9 years (up until last year). If you called any USA IKEA store or the catalog's 800 line, Neil's voice guided you through the menu system.
I know there are more of you!
If you're a man and do telephone voice over work, be sure to add a comment! I'd love to hear from you. If possible, list the companies you've done telephony work for in your comment.
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