Got a Great Speaking Voice? Why That Isn’t Enough – Part 1

“Wow, you’ve got a great speaking voice, you should do voice overs!”

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re at a social gathering or maybe a work function, and you’ve been listening to someone speak about some topic or other and found yourself thinking, wow, this person has a great speaking voice, they should be on the radio…or they should do voice overs! ?

You may have been the person doing the speaking and may have had someone say that to you.

Now, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s a popular myth that just because you have a gorgeous voice, you can deliver engaging voice over audio…to use an analogy I once heard here, that’s like saying just because you have long, nimble fingers, you can be a world-class concert pianist

……its possible, but not without a lot of training. The key word here is training.

So, its fine having a beautiful voice, but you have to know what to do with it, and that’s where most people start scratching their heads, after all, there aren’t too many people out there telling you what you need to do to “get it right”.

There is no one school of thought on what a good voice should be nor what makes up a good voice, and that’s because it all depends on the application that the voice is being put to, and what area its being used in.

Let me give you a simple example to illustrate this point.

Nancy Cartwright is an Emmy Award winning actress with this high pitched, nasally voice that some have likened to fingernails scraping down a chalkboard, you know the sound I’m talking about, that irksome noise that just grates on your nerves. But in the world of voice overs, she has a million dollar voice…why?

Because that high pitched nasally voice is exactly what the Fox Network was looking for when they cast the voice of Bart Simpson. Yep, that’s right, Nancy is the voice of Bart. Now if you were to hear Nancy in the street, you probably wouldn’t say she has a great voice, in fact, you might even say she has an annoying voice, but there’s your first lesson folks, successfully engaging your target audience is not all about have a “great” voice.

Now, having said that, there are certain basic techniques that a voice over artist needs to possess, primarily Pitch, Pace & Pause

And the most important of these for a corporate voice over artist is the third one, Pause.

I think it may have been Beethoven that once said, it’s not the notes, it’s the gaps in between them that make the music, and it’s the same with words.

In my next post I’ll expand on this a little more.

Have you ever noticed the impact of a pause? Let me know below.

Speak Up. Be Heard



  • Steven Cousley

    Reply Reply March 10, 2014

    Looking forward to your next post on this topic Con. I get to do a little P.A. spruiking during my day job and often hear the, “you should be on radio” comments. Somehow I think there might be a little more to that job than just making 30 seconds announcements in a supermarket.


    • Con Dolmas

      Reply Reply March 16, 2014

      Hi Steven,

      It’s a great feeling having those around your validate you natural gifts, and its often when we hear it from others that we learn to appreciate the natural talents we bring to the table. Hearing the comment “you should be on radio” means that your audience likes what they hear….that’s a fantastic starting position for you to build on. Keep it up, and keep it “real”….what I mean here is…keep sounding like Steven….and don’t try to sound like somebody else, even if you think the other person sounds “better” than you. In the end, its your uniqueness that cuts through and remains memorable.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, its great to hear from you!


  • Richard J Rose

    Reply Reply March 10, 2014

    Hi Con,

    You don’t hear many people talking about this subject in this niche, at least I don’t. But you bring up a really good point, that just because think you may have a good voice, does not mean it will translate well to this medium. I for one have realized that a lot of foreign marketers are hiring people to do voice-over work on their video presentations. When I have heard these people do their own videos, it is like night and day in regards to how receptive a potential buyer would be. When I get to the point where I am creating a quality presentation, I’m hiring it out!

    Thanks for the post Con!

    Rich Rose

    • Con Dolmas

      Reply Reply March 16, 2014

      Hi Rich,

      Hiring a professional voice over artist to help communicate your marketing message is a great option because pro VO artists are trained to communicate the meaning behind the words, not just to “read in a nice voice”. Having said that however, its my ardent belief that if the content of the message is something you’re passionate about, then let your own voice speak up and be heard. When you’re passionate about a topic, the enthusiasm and the energy just cuts through and engages your audience. The magic happens because you’re so fervent about your message that you just speak from the heart and don’t try and sound “professional”. Given the choice between your authentic, heart-driven voice, speaking about a subject you’re genuinely excited to share, or having a voice over artist deliver a script you’ve written to convey the same message, I’d like to hear “authentic Richard” please! Food for thought.

      Thanks for sharing your insights, it’s great to hear from you.


  • Sky Nealon

    Reply Reply March 10, 2014

    Hi Con,

    Thank you for sharing with us all such excellent tips about speaking and how to engage with our audience. I noticed that sometimes when one is in a conversation, and you start noticing that your friend or audience has lost interest, suddenly pausing really shocks them and for some, they feel guilty as well, I know I would be too.

    Keep up the great post and I look forward to learning more from you


    PS: Con, Thank you so much for your excellent advice and feedback, I’m going to try out your idea of recording a video outside.

    • Con Dolmas

      Reply Reply March 16, 2014

      Hi Sky,

      The power of a pause…..its quite a versatile little tool isn’t it? Thanks for sharing how you’ve used the power of a pause in your communications with friends and audiences.
      Regarding the previous feedback, you’re very welcome. I recently checked out your new videos and its amazing how quickly you implement new learning…that’s very impressive!

      Thanks for dropping in and commenting here.


  • Kim

    Reply Reply March 11, 2014

    Hi Con

    I’ve always been put off doing interviews etc because I hate my northern accent etc, I think I sound terrible on playback)

    So are you saying there is room when speaking in public for just about anyone


    • Con Dolmas

      Reply Reply March 16, 2014

      Hi Kim,

      You’re not alone in hating the sound of your voice on playback…most people are in the same boat…northern accent or otherwise!

      One of the primary reasons for this is that when you speak, the sound you hear in your head comes from two sources. As you’d expect, you’re hearing your voice in the same way you’d hear any other sound, that is, as sound waves hitting your ear drums. But perhaps unexpectedly, you’re also hearing sounds “inside your head” through a type of hearing called bone induction.
      Much of the sound you hear when you speak is via bone induction, so that tends to colour what you think you sound like. For many people, that “inner sound” tends to be quite rich in bass, so when they hear themselves on a recording, that “inner bass” is missing, so it sounds less resonant and less like they “think” they sound like.

      Bottom line, the recording sounds different to the sound in their head and they don’t necessarily like what they hear.

      The beauty of recorded sound however, is that it can be manipulated, so if you really wanted to, you could use software tools to make the recording sound a little closer to what you hear in your head.

      In answer to your question, as far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as a “bad voice”, and so long as the voice is not damaged, every voice has an application….you just need to marry the right voice to the right application.

      Thanks for sharing your comments here.


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