May 27, 2015

Just Because You can Google It...


Just because you can Google something doesn’t make you an expert. (I just love those Realtor ads!) That line is so true of anything that involves skill and talent.

Recently I learned how true it is of audio recording and voice overs when I had the pleasure of a coaching session with voice actor Natasha Marchewka. I didn't think it would be too hard to make my little recording, but I was a bit nervous when I arrived at Natasha's place.

We started by making a recording to use as a baseline. Then Natasha coached me about how to improve my delivery - posture, breathing, intonation and so on. Finally I did 3 more recordings. Those last recordings were so much more difficult than the first one. I was hyper aware of all the things I needed to be doing as I spoke, sounding ‘natural’ being one of them.

Here are a few things I learned:
  • Talking in person is way easier than talking into a microphone, at least for me. It’s hard to use my hands and get expressive when my mouth is against a microphone and paper in my hand.
  • Appropriate word emphasis is critical.
  • My natural cadence is repetitive and boring. Changing up my cadence is tough; I’m a creature of habit.
  • Breathing into my stomach is harder than it sounds.
  • It’s so important to edit my script to insert pauses, to indicate where to slow down or speed up, to group words together, to emphasize certain words, to go high or low with tone, and more.
Not only do I have an audio recording for my About page, but I can continue to practice and apply the skills I learned from Natasha whenever I’m speaking, not just into a microphone. (Read Natasha's side of the story here along with my recordings.)

A reminder for all of us: Things that seem simple are that way because of all the expertise that went into making them that way.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder May 27, 2015
photo by loudestnoise / Flickr

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