Pump Up Your Pandemic Delivery

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on September 2, 2020

As the pandemic grinds on, we’re all getting tired and unmotivated. That’s just where we are right now. But you don’t want to let your vocal delivery reflect that. All your broadcasting or voiceover work needs to sound like you’re as involved and interested as you’ve ever been.

What might happen if you let your delivery slip? For voiceover people, one day of low energy can keep ad agencies from calling. And in a voiceover audition, you might be told you’re not good enough for a particular assignment. One friend who voices audiobooks said she was once told to her face that her performance in the first few minutes of a book was “flat,” and it must be re-voiced. Ouch! That’s a blow to anyone’s confidence.

And for broadcasters, a bad day can happen on the day the GM is paying special attention to your performance. You know what that means.

One of the easiest ways to pep up your voicing is to give stock or repeated phrases some spice.  Whether it’s a sign off at the end of a broadcast or a toss, these phrases need to sound fresh. To make these more interesting, look at your stock phrases and write down some optional ways to say them. Employ those in your next broadcast.

If it’s a repeated phrase in an audiobook, you can consider stressing different words with volume or inflection each time.  Let’s say the phrase is, “She knew she’d die from fright.” The first time you say that sentence stress, “die,” and the next time, “fright.” Vary the stress to keep the sentence from getting too boring.

You also can’t have an expressive voice without pitch changes. Vocal pitch range is defined as the number of notes above and below your most comfortable, normal pitch (to find that spot, ck out this post). A limited pitch change (only three notes or less up and down) can signal an apathetic voice. Now to you, three notes up and down might seem like an emotional delivery, but that’s because you may not be using your full range.

Try this simple test of your pitch range.  Starting at your comfortable pitch, say, ” I can make my pitch go up, up, up, up,” raising your pitch with each, “up.”  Now go back to your comfortable pitch and say, “I can make my pitch go down, down, down.”  If it was difficult to reach the highest or lowest pitches, you may have a limited pitch range. There are many exercises you can do to expand your pitch range. Ck out this post on expanding your range.

Try using one or all 3 options above.  You’ll sound more interesting and relate to your listener more effectively.

If you don’t have the fifth edition of BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK, download it now to read more about how to improve your delivery.

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