Voice Over Training Tips that will make Training Stick

Learning to do voiceovers doesn't have to be terrifying or daunting; it can actually be fun and exciting. Think of yourself as delivering valuable and interesting information to the masses in a performance-like way. It is up to you to present information that is engaging, clear, and interesting to the learner and to have fun while doing it. The following ten tips will provide a framework in which to structure and create a professional and memorable learning experience.

  1. Know Your Material - Listeners will be listening to you as the Subject Matter Expert; therefore, it is up to you to clearly let them know what the critical information is that they need to learn. Ensure that you are up-to-date and knowledgable about your subject before scripting the speech.
  2. Script It - Before recording anything, create an outline and then a script of the material. Some people like to create a script that is word for word, while others like to use an outline and to work within guidelines. Things to think about when writing the script are how long you want it to be, what the most important points of information are, and how you want the information to be presented, i.e. the tone, attitude, style. On average, 100 words usually equals a minute of recording time, and the more engaging the script in terms of storytelling or creative and fun style, the better the learner will retain the information.
  3. Balance - Be sure to structure your script so that you are not speaking too much, but are also allowing time for appropriate visual content, information processing, and reflection.
  4. Use a Quality Mic & Eliminate Background Noise - Test your gear in the environment in which you will be recording to see if the microphone you are using is professional sounding and that there are no noises in the background. A recording that sounds messy and noisy will quickly disengage the learner and shut down his or her learning capacity.
  5. Speak Loud and Proud -This is a time for you to shine and to present a positive and happy personality to those on the other end of the speaker, headphone, etc. Your level of confidence and tonal quality of your voice will tell the learner whether or not you care about the subject matter and whether he or she should too.
  6. Practice & Review - Practicing and reviewing your performance, if you will, is key. You are, in essence, delivering a presentation to multiple if not thousands of learners. Build in the time for a number of practice and review sessions. You might even consider videotaping yourself as the speech that comes through the recording is a “full body” experience. Learners can tell if you are smiling and physically engaged in the content even if they can’t see you.
  7. Eliminate the Um’s - When recording, your presentation needs to be as professional as possible. In your practice and review sessions, count how many times you use words like Um, Ah, Hm, etc. and then work to eliminate these words from the final product.
  8. Breathe & Center - your confidence and capacity for conveying a message and information comes through your voice. Be sure you are breathing naturally and are personally centered and clear when speaking.
  9. Silence - Don’t be afraid of silence when speaking; it is actually a very powerful tool when delivering information verbally. Silence acts to actually get the listener’s attention rather than to turn it off. It is also a way to emphasize an important point and to allow time for the learner to process the information.
  10. Believe & Be Clear - The hallmark of an excellent voice over performance is to show the audience of learners that you believe in what you are saying and are saying it in a manner in which they can understand. If you speak in a dull manner simply reciting information and using high-level industry-specify jargon, you run the risk of your audience quickly tuning you out if they don't think you care about the subject or are using words they do not yet know.

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