Surviving Marathons at the Microphone

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on April 3, 2017

BSGCoverBlueThe terrorist attack in London a few weeks ago and the one in Russia today reminded me that during crises, television anchors and reporters are often on the air for more hours than on a normal day.  Many of my clients over the years have found themselves in this situation whether during a crisis or a weather event.  I’ve counseled them on how to take care of their voices during this time.

Voiceover artists often find themselves in similar situations if they have to complete a job on a short deadline or have a lengthy script or book to voice.

So how do you survive a marathon at the microphone? I have an easy process for you to remember.  It’s based on three P’s:  Prioritize, Plan and Pace yourself.

Let’s look at the first one, Prioritize.  I suggest you look at your week prior to the voicing event (unless it’s something sudden like a terrorist attack) and prioritize your needs.  For instance, sleep is a necessity when you have a marathon ahead of you.  Scrub any evening social events that might cut into your sleep time (come on, it’s only a week…).  Also, increase your exercise (click here for more on exercise) so that you’re in top shape when the work begins and have less stress because of the exercise. On the day of the event, line everything up to support you through it.  That’s where Planning comes in.

Plan the day of the marathon voicing just as you would if you were an athlete.  Take survival gear with you like plenty of water to drink (click to read about the benefits of water).  Bring enough food to keep your energy up.  This could be protein bars, some kind of meat, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or any other food that is high in protein.  Want to know more about the benefits of protein?  Click here. 

What you don’t want is food high in sugar like donuts (sorry….), bagels, or muffins.  They will cause a spike in blood sugar that will leave you feeling fatigued twenty minutes after you eat them.  That’s why protein is best.  It helps you focus and gives you a steady release of blood sugar to keep your energy up.  Also avoid too much caffeine, which may make it hard to focus your thoughts and dairy products, which may produce excess mucous in your throat.

And finally, Pace yourself during the marathon at the mic.  You want to keep your vocal energy consistent through the entire time, and if you sit too long your blood tends to circulate poorly (click here for more on the dangers of sitting).  This can make your vocal energy plunge.

If possible take breaks often.  Go outside if you can and walk around to relieve the stress of being in the studio.  If you can’t go outside, at least stand and stretch often and have a few bites of your protein snack along with some water.  You’ll sound better and your voice will last longer!

For more tips on how to keep your voice healthy, download a copy of my ebook, BROADCASTERS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE for only $4.99.  It’s chock full of tips on nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and other ways to keep your body and your voice in great shape!

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