Get A Better Broadcast, Podcast and Voice-Over Voice


0510 - Your Voice In The Studio

Season 2, Ep. 510
2022.05.25 – 0510 – Your Voice In The StudioThis Part of the book is divided into three chapters. First, we will look at the different equipment in the studio. Don’t worry we won’t be getting too technical and talk about the transmission chain, but there are a few bits of kit in a home or pro studio that you need to know about and about how to use it right to make the best of your voice.For example, there’s no point doing breathing exercises and great resonance if you don’t know which side of a mic to speak into (yep, it happens), or have ‘headphone howl-round’. The second chapter looks at your performance in the studio, with techniques such as ‘reading ahead’; and ‘cold reading’ – when you have to sight-read a script just handed to you. We’ll take another look at confidence and what kind of preparation can help in that, and also about feedback given to you by other people… and feedback you give to yourself.Chapter three in this Part then moves on to the production of a spot or a show: the process of being directed and how those ‘behind the glass’ will help you give your very best vocal performance. After all, if you know in advance what they want then you are more likely to be able to provide it – fast and to a high standard. This chapter also looks at different kinds of reads: for example, how a book narration differs from a ‘voice of god’ announcement’ at an event and what some of the different skills are.

0509 – Vocal Variety

Season 2, Ep. 509
2022.05.24 – 0509 – Vocal VarietyVarietyIf your inflection patterns are too consistent, then you're sounding bored rather than interesting. Depending on the material, sometimes your delivery should be fast, sometimes slower. Sometimes you should be excited, sometimes calm. Sometimes your voice should carry a smile, sometimes you should sound dead serious. By constantly varying your pattern (without sounding like a pastiche) you increase the possibility of being perceived as human rather than automaton… and therefore someone that the listener can connect with.Variety in your voice will help people listen for longer. In real conversation, inflections vary widely from sentence to sentence. In announcing, people will tend to say everything the same way. It is far more captivating to hear someone who presents with:·Various sentence lengths – so you don’t get into a repetitive rhythm·A voice which alters in pace and pitch – faster and higher for exciting passages or when relaying content that people know but that helps you get from point A to point C·A style which intonates correctly rather than is robotic in modulation – so it is natural and understandable, and people aren’t trying to work out what you said and while doing so miss your next great point.·The occasional presentational … pause. To make people engage, to tease and intrigue.Some trainers say “be unpredictable”. No. That’s just annoying. Look back at those tips above, variety shouldn’t be unpredictable, the variety comes from being natural. All of those points are what we do naturally in conversation, or telling a story to a group of friends, maybe a pause before a punchline. Whatever the style or the content, you need to deliver the message to the audience in an engaging, memorable way that will make them act: either emotionally or physically.

0508 – Your Injection Into The Output

Season 2, Ep. 508
2022.05.23 – 0508 – Your Injection Into The OutputRapport begins with realising that each ‘consumer’, viewer or listener is an individual who in most cases, has invited you into their home, their world, their ears. Consider yourself a guest, an acquaintance or even a friend, who’s been welcomed in because you have a story to tell. You can easily forget about the audience. Cocooned within the four walls of the studio, you can begin to sound as though you are talking to yourself or to the studio director or producer. Do this and you begin to go through the motions, your concentration is elsewhere and your vocal presentation begins to sound stilted, singsong and insincere.“We’re people, we’re human beings. The days when news was read in a black tie and you’re not supposed to have a personality – those days are gone. You’re putting on the television to see other human beings and see their reactions. If I just stood or sat there po-faced, I think that’d be a very big turn-off for people.I think we need to inject a bit of ourselves in our output, and that’s what people will watch you rather than someone else for.”Simon McCoy, TV news presenter/journalist, “You’re On The Air” podcast November 2020We spoke about energy before, but it’s not shouting or projection per se. Even a relaxed conversation on a podcast takes concentration, focus and energy. It’s you with a bit more. You alone could sound a bit flat when it came out of the other end of the speaker or headphones, you have to add some showbiz sprinkle on top, so it’s “YouPLUS!”, with the ‘plus’ burning off between your mouth and the listener’s ears.

0507 – Personality and Rapport

Season 2, Ep. 507
2022.05.22 – 0507 – Personality and RapportPERSONALITY AND RAPPORTGood presenters are ones who establish rapport with their audience.“A lot of people have complimented me for sounding warm and I think that’s important… warm but authoritative at the same time. You can read really bad news without emoting about it but on the other hand not being cold and too factual either and I think I’m very happy when people say that because that’s what I’m aiming for.(I’m) calm, even though you’re not feeling calm but you sound it because you have to be. Not emotive. You have to be good at giving bad news without dramatising it. You have to deliver something impartially but also with warmth. You want it delivered by somebody who’s not going to react to what you’re reading in any kind of emotive way. You don’t want to sound angry about something, even if in your head you are. You don’t want to sound very, very sad when something very sad has happened: because it is a sad thing it doesn’t need the newsreader to load it up with their sadness either. So, you have to be very concerned and warm but also slightly set apart. You’re talking to a friend. (It’s like) some news has happened and you’re driving along and you see someone you haven’t seen for a little bit and you say ‘oh my goodness, you’ll never guess what’s happened’ and it’s that kind of thing… but you don’t dramatize it. Don’t sound as though you’re about to burst into tears if it’s a really sad story, the story speaks for itself.You are a conduit. You have to deliver it calmly but without sounding like an automaton.”Susan Rae, BBC radio 4 newsreader/announcer,“You’re On The Air” podcast December 2020Such rapport defies satisfactory definition. It is a kind of chemistry that exists between presenters and their audience. A ‘focused energy’.

0504 – A Giveaway That You’re Reading

Season 2, Ep. 504
2022.05.19 – 0504 – A Giveaway That You’re ReadingA Giveaway That You’re ReadingSometimes it’s obvious you’re reading something because it contains too much information that you couldn’t possibly know or remember. As an example, here is something that if read as written will definitely sound as if it is being read:“On Thursday July 7th 2005, three bomb explosions hit London Underground trains…”The reason it sounds as if it’s being read is because few people would remember what day of the week it was, so clearly the information is in front of you. If you want to come across powerfully, you have to engage in a little play-acting and say something like this:“July the 7th 2005 … I remember it was a Thursday …” There’s only one occasion when you should sound as if you’re clearly reading something; and that’s when you are quoting someone, in which case you should say exactly that: ‘…and I quote…’Ironically, reading something flawlessly doesn’t sound impressive when you’re trying to make out you’re adlibbing. It sounds cold and matter-of-fact. If you throw in the occasional hesitation, gentle emphasis and change the pace of your presentation, it’ll sound like you’re thinking about it, as if it’s something honestly important to you. This will have more intellectual and emotional impact, which is what you want, if you want your listener to think you’re smart.