The art of communication - the most powerful, persuasive, and distinctly human tool in any marketer’s arsenal - has evolved to the degree that you don’t have to be in the same room to get a message across, or even be in the same country for that matter.
With this advancement, making sure the audience receives, understands, believes, and acts upon your message is so important. Hiring a voice-over artist with good acting skills (listen to podcast) can ensure your video production achieves the desired response.
Voice actors play many different roles, each one representing a different purpose and segment of voice-over work. Commercials, entertainment, business and educational videos are just some examples of where you’ll hear voice-overs.
With the rise of social networks over the last decade, it’s become clear that we trust the recommendations of friends and family members. It’s for this reason that one role has risen above the rest among video producers looking to have their stories told in a persuasive, trustworthy manner.
Introducing the Real-PersonProjects requiring a more casual approach often benefit from relatable, genuine voice-overs. These are referred to as real-person voice-overs, often cast as “the regular guy” or “the girl next door.” The character is homegrown, sensible, and friendly with a touch of familiarity. This provides a more intimate interpretation of the message and instills trust with the audience.
You’ve probably heard the real-person in commercials, podcasts, explainer videos, and any other application where the voice actor needs to speak as though he or she is having a conversation with the listener.
By their very design, these types of reads sound natural and connect with the audience in a more direct, affable way.
Becoming More ConversationalIn order to get that real-person read, the voice actor needs to sound informal and genuine. This can be more difficult than one might expect. It takes discipline and practice on the part of the voice actor to sound like they’re having a conversation rather than just reciting the message. This is where good direction comes in.
These tips will help you get the conversational read you’re looking for. Ask the voice actor to:
- Speak Slowly. Reads come across with greater sincerity when spoken at a slightly slower pace. When people rush through their words, they can either sound like they’re hiding something or that what they have to say is more of a sales pitch. Although this is true, you may find that commercials don’t afford you the luxury of reading slower because they contain too much copy to read at a slower pace. Commercials require that the voice actor reads the copy within the time allotted for the spot. Keeping a steady metronome-like tempo gives the voice actor the freedom to massage each and every word and give it the proper attention it deserves while observing punctuation and places to breathe.
- Speak Naturally. Reads are more conversational when they don’t sound as if the words or dialogues are contrived, meaning that it’s deliberately created instead of arising naturally. The trick to a conversational read is to have the voice actor picture themselves speaking to a friend or family member while reading their lines. With that, a more conversational flow to the read should occur.
- Sound Authentic. Sounding authentic is an important aspect of delivering a real-person read, although doing so isn’t easy, especially when you’re recording a commercial or a piece that involves persuasion or the selling of an idea. Authenticity is important in voice acting because the listening audience needs to feel that what you’re telling them is true. To be authentic, make sure the listener will feel as though the voice matches the role.
Trying Out the Real-Person on Your Next VideoWhen hiring a voice actor to narrate the script of your next video, consider giving them the artistic direction described above. By doing so, your video will be more persuasive and encourage the viewer to take your desired action.
About the Authors: Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past nine years, Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.