A Voiceover Technique: Hey, I’m Talking To You!

Voiceover techniques vary depending on who’s listening

Having just recorded a series of in store messages for Mind The Gap clients, it occurred to me that what I was taught when studying voiceover technique is not always true.

My instructors always stressed that you should imagine that you’re speaking to one person.  “Don’t announce,” they used to say, “Just speak TO someone, not AT them.”

That’s good advice – almost always.  But when you’re speaking over a public address system to a store full of shoppers (who certainly are not paying attention to you), you need to be bigger, broader and more intrusive.  It’s a completely different approach than when you’re recording an on hold message, which is literally a one-to-one communication.

So my advice to anyone directing or voicing in store or on hold messages (I guess this applies to any voiceover, including TV and radio spots) is to think about where the audience is and what they’re likely to be doing when they hear the message.  It’s just natural to speak differently depending upon who you’re talking to and under what circumstances.  The same should apply to voiceover technique.