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Does Your Voice Save Lives?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 29, 2011

Comments (22)

Doctor with two nurses in scrubsEver thought about what you read can help save lives?

The way you interpret a script can make a difference in how people perceive the vital information you're expressing in your read.

If you've been able to convey critical information that you feel has saved lives, be sure to comment on today's VOX Daily!

A VO Session With A Mission

George LedouxOne of my friends, George Ledoux, posted about a studio session that he was about to participate in that while not exhilarating to read copy wise, will prove absolutely integral to the hearers of the voiceover.

George narrated a technical/medical script that described the indications, warnings and functioning of a subcutaneous asthma medication.

The thought of saying 'subcutaneous' may seem challenging to many of us but the reality is that reading copy is not nearly as challenging as taking said medicine and enduring any potential side effects.

Connecting While Staying On Message

When reading messages or disclaimers, particularly as they pertain to health and safety, it helps to think of the people taking the medicine or heeding your message and what they are going through.

If you as voice talent are distanced emotionally from the audience, reading a script about something important can lose its effectiveness and possibly color the way the message is received. Finding a way to connect with your audience is key.

One of the best ways to demonstrate empathy is to know more about who you are speaking to and answer all of the regular questions such as:

Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

๏ Who am I speaking to (patient, physician, paramedic)? Who else cares about this message (family member of person taking it)? Who needs to know?
๏ What is this medicine? What illness/symptoms does it treat? What are its potential side effects?
๏ When might someone need to hear this message? Is it during a particular stage in treatment? Is it introductory information or more advanced?
๏ Where am I coming from? Am I a doctor, a spokesperson, a patient? Is this an authoritative read or more conversational?
๏ Why is this message being shared? Why might it be useful to someone? Why would someone want to listen to me and heed my words?
๏ How does the message relate to the listener? How can I make myself more accessible to them?

Completing this exercise will make you feel more connected to your audience and they in turn may listen to you more closely and take your message to heart. This may take some research on your end if the script itself does not yield all of the answers.

Any Comments?

If you've recorded a voice over for something that falls under this category, be it for medical purposes, safety in general or otherwise, be sure to comment and let us know what the voiceover was for!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Jacob Wackerhausen

Related Topics: disclaimers, George Ledoux, medical, narration, narrator, reading, recordings, SAG, technical


Comments


    I certainly hope that my medical narrations have been helpful to the intended audience be they patients, students, physicians or administrators. While empathy is always important, calmness, clarity and pacing are also key factors for effective communications in this field.

    One of my regular jobs is for the National Health Service Blood and Transplant department. It's important to sound friendly and reassuring, while at the same time conveying the urgent need for more donations.

    Speaking of donations, I've also been fortunate enough to do recordings for various charities working in disaster zones, and many of the same considerations apply.

    They aren't the biggest jobs in terms of time, budget or artistic merit, but they are by far the most important.

    Posted by:

      I narrate training programs for nursing home workers. Much of the info can be vital to patients' safety, and to the health and safety of the workers. I've also done training manuals for RNs, which speaks for itself!

      Posted by:

        I have been the voice for several NHTSA campaigns, most notably "Click It or Ticket". I believe I've been chosen to appeal to the younger drivers, who probably need these reminders more than those who've been driving awhile. Hopefully, these reminders have helped.

        Here is a link to the last campaign I worked on:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewpmkk7CLsE

        Dan Friedman
        www.sound4vo.com
        www.procommvoices.com

        Posted by:

          Like to believe they may. Was honoured to provide a character voice for the international medical and humanitarian aid organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and another work-in-progress fighting polio, which by good fortune I recovered from as a boy before the days of the Salk vaccine. As Simon's already pointed out, these jobs are rarely big bucks, but they are big buzz.

          Posted by:
          • Howard Ellison
          • August 30, 2011 9:09 AM

            Oddly enough, Stephanie, I was recently contacted to do one of the most interesting voice overs, something I'd NEVER thought I'd do in this wacky VO world!
            The recording was for Ship-to-ship communication for vessels that were encroaching on waters they SHOULDN'T be in.
            Example:
            Attention – Attention -- Attention
            All Stop ---- All STOP
            Identify yourself on VHF channel XX - Identify yourself on VHF channel XX
            Your vessel has entered a “restricted” area that extends 3 miles in all directions from (location)
            STOP immediately and reverse your course. Keep clear by 3 miles

            Not your everyday voice over gig...but may, perhaps, save a life or two!

            Posted by:

              For over a year, I've been narrating a lot of government work aimed at triage and accurate charting for the armed forces hospital personnel all over the world. Since I've signed an NDA, that about all I can say.
              Best,
              Bobbin Beam, Voice Actress

              Posted by:

                My coach is always emphasizing the WHO are you talking to and WHERE are you! I also did a PSA for AIDS in Canada that I never heard.....oh well...Good article though!

                Posted by:
                • Ryan Stephenson
                • August 30, 2011 5:02 PM

                  I work with the University Hospital in New Jersey almost everyday I work as telephone interpreter for different medical clinics and the ER department. Once I have to work at Tampa General Hospital with a Brazilian patient that was hopeless on his treatment and after the doctor told him after surgery he will be 96% cure it made his day! He had hope again you should see the smile on the patient's face. I also do pre-recording scripts for a hospital vendor. The interpretation of a script is always critical. I put my heart and soul on everything I do.

                  Posted by:
                  • Lourdes Gallagher
                  • August 30, 2011 5:05 PM

                    I am a regular with Lifespan, the Rhode Island Hospital, and have narrated many videos addressing HIV prevention and treatment, as well as anonymous surveys about drug and alcohol use. In addition I narrated an eLearning script for Emergency Responders witnessing an accident for the first time. That was intense! I use my professional, yet compassionate and encouraging voice, or sometimes a commanding, authoritative, but understanding tone, when issuing critical information.. I feel honored to do these as I know my voice and expression is truly making a difference in people's lives. Thanks for the post Stephanie!

                    Posted by:
                    • Rosi Amador
                    • August 30, 2011 5:05 PM

                      It is incredibly important!

                      Posted by:
                      • Adam Sydney
                      • September 2, 2011 9:47 PM

                        I did a lot of PSAs for government and NGOs. It also helps the environment.

                        Posted by:
                        • Pocholo Gonzales
                        • September 2, 2011 9:48 PM

                          When I was an anchor for Sirius Weather & Emergency, I was usually the only live voice on what was mostly a Weather Channel feed. When a severe weather warning or evacuation order would occur, I had to interrupt with the pertinent information. While this is probably more reporting than pure voiceover, I did have to give an inflection of urgency and sound different from the normal feed in order to get the listeners' attention. I like to think that over a few years we helped save some lives.

                          Posted by:

                            I recently did a job for a local doctor's office about a form of non-invasive, no touch, breast cancer screening called IRBI that can detect abnormalities years before a mammogram. Who knows how many lives that could save if more people knew about it!

                            Posted by:
                            • Holly Cafrin
                            • September 9, 2011 10:19 AM

                              Sure, the producers who were trying to finish a movie in post!

                              Posted by:
                              • Radha Christy Cassel
                              • September 21, 2011 10:04 AM

                                I doubt this has saved lives, but I recorded the Army NCO Creed and put it on Youtube. Lots of guys have told me it has helped 'em pass their promotion boards.

                                Posted by:
                                • Brian McGovern
                                • September 21, 2011 10:04 AM

                                  I made a tape for a friend with seizures. She thought my voice would help bring her out of her seizures. She said it worked well for her.

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Jim Hull
                                  • September 21, 2011 10:05 AM

                                    I'd like to think that all the voice overs that I've done have made a difference in people's lives. I do mostly educational narration these days, so I'm sure that it's true.

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Chris Wagner
                                    • September 21, 2011 10:05 AM

                                      Nearly monthly, I narrate safety videos for steel industry - that's a high injury, high fatality industry. The safety company I work with says statistically injuries and fatalities decrease when companies start using their product (which includes me). VERY satisfying.

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Dan Harder
                                      • September 21, 2011 10:06 AM

                                        Once had the pleasure of doing an audiobook for an entire series of Science textbooks for Elementary - Middle School students. The tapes were sent along with the new texts for students who were visually impaired or had reading disabilities. I hope that made a difference for someone, somewhere.

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Jeff Reim
                                        • September 21, 2011 10:06 AM

                                          I did several "please proceed to the nearest emergency exit. Do not use the lift" recordings... I hope it will never be used though ;)

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Karol Walkowski
                                          • September 21, 2011 10:07 AM

                                            Just released - it was an honour to voice Bobby Bailey's video for the End of Polio campaign. As an infant I was paralysed, but recovered, a few years before FDR's One Dime at a Time support for Jonas Salk. That story is brilliantly animated here
                                            http://www.theendofpolio.com/home/

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Howard Ellison
                                            • October 1, 2011 6:37 AM

                                              I recently voiced a safety video for a large construction company that would help employees to be aware of the risks and hazards associated with a job. I had fun doing it! When I was in radio, I worked during storms, reading cancellations and severe weather statements to keep people informed. Also, I voiced my own guided meditations. I gave a copy to a friend and she uses them to relax, because my delivery is slow and deliberate.

                                              Posted by:

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