Voicing Like a Tour Guide?

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on March 20, 2012

The cherry blossoms are blooming here in D.C., and the city is teeming with tourists.  That started me thinking about all the tour guides at work here.  I bet you never think of yourself as a tour guide, do you?  Well your on-air work might improve if you did. Let me explain….

Think of a typical tour guide at a museum or on a tour bus.  Tour guides need to command and hold people’s attention. The guides must do this with their voices alone. You’d be pretty disappointed if you went to your local museum and a soft spoken or mumbling guide came to show you around. You might just wander off on your own or seek out a more dynamic guide. Listeners will do the same thing if your voice does not grab their attention.

How do you get a dynamic voice that commands attention?  First, don’t let the ends of your sentences trail off. Always try and make the last word in your sentence as strong as the first word. Keep good energy in your voice all the way to the end of each sentence.

Another way to sound commanding is to project your voice well. Vocal projection is how far the sound you create travels when it leaves your mouth.  If you think of projecting your voice a few feet in front of you, your voice will sound more commanding. I did another blog post and a short video on this that you can see here.

A weak voice sounds like someone talking with a surgical mask on.  All the sound is trapped around the face.  You don’t want to have that voice so speak up with good vocal projection.

For more on projection, see Lesson 3 on the MP3 page.  You can also download Lesson 1 on Keeping a Healthy Voice for free!

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