Here's 7 tips for radio - and there would be more if you wanted to be on TV or have your photo taken for a print ad....
Here's some tips from a course I did many years ago about professional voice acting, and your most important tool... your voice!
"Many people are aware of how they look, but not how they sound. If
you have a client who wants to record their own commercials, record
their voice for them (use your phone now that the technology has evolved
to include recording apps) and play it back to them. It can be a real
revelation to them.
"You and them can see immediately that it may lack some colour or
variety, is too loud or too soft, or they don't articulate and enunciate
their words properly and clearly. And, they may also talk too fast or
"A good producer can coach a client to make them sound 80% better.
"But it takes time, and a lot of practice to make them sound great.
"And it takes years of coaching to make them sound awesome!
"One of the best techniques to show a client how they can sound better is to give them a sentence to read.
Something that they will have to emphasize to get the message across. Even something as simple as this...
'If I want to emphasize something... I (pause) need to talk softly'
"They need to say the first part in a normal tone of voice, then, almost whisper the last 4 words.
Back to me know... and I will explain why this is a good thing to do?
It shows how a good voice artist can make a sentence have impact, you
could almost see your listeners, leaning forward, wanting to hear what
it is that you are saying.
The pause especially is important, put it in a different place and it
changes the urgency, and the impact of what you are saying.
It is also important that if you really want to voice your
commercial: be aware that other people will judge your voice too. From
the station manager, to the producer making the ad, and eventually, your
Your voice may be rejected at the station level before it
gets to air, so be aware that it may have to be voiced by someone else
if the station doesn't think your voice will work for them.
So, if you do get the go ahead, and your going in to record; You want
to sound your absolute best. How you do this is up to you, but here are
a couple of tips to do before you even come to the studio to record the
1. Don't drink coffee or a milk drink for at least an hour before
hand - you can hear the lactose in peoples throats, it is almost like a
clicking, lip smacking type effect, and we usually have to try to edit
it out. It doesn't always work.
2. Know your script, be prepared to read it slowly, fast, and
somewhere in the middle. You will be asked to read it several times, in
all likelihood many different ways too.
3. Be prepared for changes. You may have to change what you say to
make what you want to fit in. This is because people all speak at
different rates, and if you are a fast talker, that's great for the shop
floor. But not in ads. We want everyone to understand what you are
4. You can talk with your hands, no one is going to see it, and if it helps to put some emphasis on what you are saying, do it.
5. Don't wear jewellery like bangles, watches that tick, and earrings that jangle.
6. If you have a cold, or are feeling off - reschedule. Nothing
sounds worse than a sick voice on air - unless you are selling cold and
7. And finally, relax. There is no tape to run out of, there is no
problem with doing it again 20 times. It takes patience to get that line
delivered just right. Then, it can be edited with the rest of the
commercial to make it work.
Sure there are a whole heap more I could suggest for you to do - but
these seven should at least help you to get over your initial nerves of
recording your commercial. Most importantly, just enjoy the experience.
Until next time, keep on selling! Earl Pilkington.