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Voice Acting Tips: 3 Different Ways To Sound More Authoritative When You Read

Sep 06, 2021

There are many different reasons for using an authoritative style voice over delivery. Some of these include eLearning, explainer videos, medical narration, corporate narration, technical manuals, PowerPoint presentations, documentaries, training, etc. 

For voice actors, it is important to learn this style and master the small parts so we can get more voiceover jobs and win more voice-over auditions. Although this is a given, I have found that most beginners struggle with this delivery. 

In this article, we will look at 3 different methods to help you sound more like an authority on any voiceover job you audition for.  

** Also, I am a practical voiceover coach, meaning I will give you actual steps you can physically take to change your styles. So, I want you to give these methods a try the next time you record an authoritative voiceover. 

Method 1: End Down When You Finish A Statement

This is my number #1 favorite method for changing the tone and style of my voiceover. Ending down when you finish a sentence will denote authority and confidence.

In our society today, many people like to end up when they finish a sentence or have a matter-of-fact style of finish. These are both great finishes, but not as an authority on a subject. 

I like to think of this idea as subtext, or how we say the words. Many voice actors that are just beginning focus solely on the flow and correct pronunciation of the words when they are delivering a script. This is the natural thing to do. 

However, when we are speaking to someone about a topic, especially one that we feel we know something about, the way we talk about the information changes. We use different inflections and pitches in our voices.

This idea goes back millions of years ago and revolves around evolution. Deep voices are a sign of high levels of testosterone, which we are hard-wired to connect strength and confidence. 

Of course, in our society today, pre-conceived notions are changing, but not when it comes to being an authority on a subject. 

A deeper, more straightforward voice that ends lower when the sentence or idea is finished, gives us a feeling of confidence, authority, and fact (Even if it is just the belief of someone else). 

And today, we gravitate to the same subtext (Deep voice equals authority) that we did 1000's of years ago. 

Method 2: Use The TED Talk Model

I learned this idea from an amazing non-fiction narrator and non-fiction voiceover coach, Sean Pratt, on where to locate a reference and imitate the deliveries for a more authoritative read. 

Basically, the idea is simple:

  1. Go to YouTube and type in TED Talks
  2. Pick a topic (It doesn't matter which)
  3. Watch and listen to how the presenters use their voices to model authority and relatability. 
  4. Practice your delivery using the styles you listened to in the videos

I love this method because an actor's job is to imitate real-life or made-up life emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc., and deliver them convincingly to an audience, and this tool helps us with an actual template to follow from real life. 

Also, most commercial and fiction work is centered around a one-to-one idea ... meaning we pretend we are talking to just one person. 

However, when we are using an authoritative tone, we usually pretend we are talking to a small audience or a room of people. This changes the dynamic of our delivery and should be thought about before you begin. 

When we speak in front of many people, we are still acting relatable, but we realize that we must LEAD the message, forcing us to be more straightforward in our statements. 

I used the word statements because as an authority, we make statements that we are absolutely sure of, giving us confidence in the words we are saying, leaving no room for others to question our beliefs. 

TED Talks are great ways to see how authorities on all subjects are doing it. 

Method 3: Facts Are Facts

In this method, we deliver facts for what they are ... facts. There is no fluff added, no extra inflection, no great big pauses or delays when we speak as an authority. We get to the point and share the facts or ideas simply and clearly. 

Many voice over genres calls for different styles, utilizing volume, pacing, expression, pausing, etc. to give more subtext to the message. 

But when we are delivering an authoritative voiceover, our job is to say the information straightforward and to the point. Our goal should be to connect the dots for the listeners, not confuse them with overacting. 

Now, there are some occasions where pausing for thought is a good thing. And there are always exceptions to the rules, but for the most part, facts are facts and should be spoken as such. 

Think of the way you say, "The World Is Round".

It is a simple sentence, and factual to all of us. As you speak it in your mind or out loud, you should get a feeling of pure belief and confidence in these words. 

That sound comes from medium pacing, expression, and no questioning the validity of the message, meaning end down and don't add more to the statement. You don't need to drag the last word or the sentence out. Say it and move on. This is a challenge for many voice actors because they believe they must make more of the script than what is given. 

Remember, you are relaying 2 messages:

  1. The message of the words themselves
  2. The message of what the story underneath those words are saying

In this case, you are relaying, "The world is round", and, "You are absolutely sure of it and don't need to fill the time and space with anything else but the statement". This is what it means to relay facts as facts. 

JUST TELL US, DON'T SELL US!

Putting It All Together

When you are trying to sound like an authority on a subject, whether it is non-fiction audiobooks or corporate narration, the ideas are always the same. 

  • End down when you finish a statement
  • Use the TED Talk method as a reference
  • Speak like facts are facts

If you follow these tips, sounding like an authority on any topic will come easier with more practice. 

If you are interested in checking out our course on Authoritative VoiceOvers, click here

Thanks so much for reading, and best of luck on your voiceover journey. 

Until next time,

Anthony 

 

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