Moving Beyond “No”

I think we spend too much time thinking about what we “don’t do”… “can’t do”… or “shouldn’t do.”  And I understand this.  Afterall one of the first words we learn as a child is “no.”

No, don’t do that.

No, you can’t have that.

And as teenagers and young adults exploring the world and our independence, we the message, “I don’t think you should do that.”

In a well-meaning world of reinforced stops, how do we get ourselves to move forward?

How do you move beyond negative self-talk and open ourselves up to creativity… expression… and discovery.

I’d love to hear from you. Your voice matters.

Do You

Do You – Three Tips for Authenticity The Eclectic VO Podcast

Three tips for autenticity and you… doing you.

I follow Anthony Palmini on LinkedIn.  He’s a fellow “eclectic” as an actor, editor, director, composer and voice over artist.  He has a short post featuring Producer/Director Shawn Levy who is known for his work in Arrival, Strangers Things, and Night at the Museum.  Anthony and Shawn offers simple advise.  “Do you.”

Be free enough to do you.  It’s so simple.  But is it?

As business professionals, we are always trying to serve the client.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a marketing professional, an e-Learning designer, a casting director or a voice over artist.  You get paid to impress someone.  The target market… your students… your audience…  your buyer.

And everyone of the professionals I’ve mentioned will tell you that authenticity sells.  But sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the business of business that we lose track of how to be authentic. 

Here are three tricks I’ve used to get out of my own way and reset and fine my authentic self. 

  1. Go with your mood. 

Are you in a bad mood? Are you frustrated?  Are you in a super silly mood? Instead of trying to squelch the mood that you’re in, exercise it. Explore it.  How can you apply your authentic mood to your project?  The product or service you’re advertising.  The learning experience for your students. The story you’re filming.  By acting on your mood, you may surprise yourself and find a truly unique and creative strategy that works for both you and your client.

  1. Keep it simple.  Keep it real.

Just because we possess a five star vocabulary, doesn’t mean we have to use it. Think about your script. What are the essential messages? Highlight those then try it to your child. As a voiceover artist I’ve done this! I had a long somewhat convoluted script on a topic I wasn’t familiar.  So I went through it highlighting the most important messages. I re-read it three or four times and then turned my back to it.  I called my son and ask can I take a minute to tell you about a script that I’m recording? Then I paraphrased it in my own words. This helped me lean into a more complicated script and find my authentic voice.  You can do the same thing when you’re developing your marketing, your feet learning course, or your approach to storyboarding.

  1. Look at consumer complaints.

As a business owner we can get so hung up on trying to define our customer needs that we forget to actually solve their problem. Successful businesses solve problems. but if we’re honest with ourselves sometimes we are only guessing at what the customer needs. And in total truth sometimes the customers guessing at the customer needs. If you find yourself stuck in this position go look at the customer complaints. Take some time and do the research. In the political arena we would call this opposition research. The same thing applies to marketing a product to consumers. Don’t look at all the things people love about dish soap. Look at what they hate about it. How can that fuel your creativity and inspire you… to do you?

What are some strategies you’ve used to remain authentic and do you?

Think Outside the Box

IMAGE of holiday written on a calendar page.

Do You – Three Tips for Authenticity The Eclectic VO Podcast

Three tips for autenticity and you… doing you.

My morning routine is pretty set. I get up, take my son to work, go through Starbucks, come back and dive into orders, recording anything that’s waiting in the inbox before turning to correspondence. I clear out my personal email then deal with business.  Both Dreamtime Illustrations (my children’s book business) and True Voice Productions (my voice over business).  Today I had some last minute changes to complete for three picture books (more about that later) that will be coming out soon.   The review of my TVP email inevitably flows into working my social media platforms.  Then I check on orders, revisions and do auditions before jumping into marketing.

I’m sure you all understand how important marketing is for a business . But sometimes marketing is a drag. It’s a lot of work and you can go days, months – dare I say even years – and sometimes feel like you’re talking into a void. And that makes it no fun.  But some days… Some days, you run across something that just makes you smile . Something so out of the box and creative, you just want to do it!

I love finding unique marketing ideas. I just adore them.  And today I ran smack-dab into one I want to share with you.

So to start my marketing chores for the day, I opened up to see what holidays are coming up this week before we get to  Martin Luther King Junior Day on the 17th.

What I found was that today is:

  • Natl. Milk Day, celebrating the day we think the first home milk deliveries in glass bottles were made in the US.
  • Natl. Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a very important cause to raise awareness of a devasting crime affecting the entire globe.
  • Natl. Shop for Travel Day:  I would guess this was created by some businesses to encourages you to start planning our next vacation.
  • Natl. Arkansas Day, celebrating the day Arkansas joined the Union.
  • And my favorite – Natl. Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day.  I mean, why not! Now if you’re going to celebrate this one, I hope you live in the South where you actually have puddles.  If you live in the North, you’re going to have to bring that snow inside to the tub and melt it first.  Then you have to be very, very careful because you do not want to slip, fall, or hit your head on anything.

I digress.

Looking for what other holidays are coming up, I found out that’s Sunday, January 16th, is Appreciate a Dragon Day. And I have to tell you as a lifelong Anne McCaffrey, Pern nerd, I love this! Appreciate a Dragon Day seeks to celebrate Dragons and the many tales and stories they have brought to us. It was created in 2004 by Donita K. Paul to promote her book, DragonSpel,l and the series, The DragonKeeper Chronicles.

This idea is so creative!  And there’s a cheap way of doing it . And then there’s the not so cheap, right way of doing it.

How does one create a holiday ?

The cheap way: you make it up and then you tell everyone about it. Hit your social media and blast the crap out of that thing. Make it fun. Maybe create a prize drawing to encourage people to post and share.  And make posters send postcards . This is the grassroots way of making a holiday . No one will know about it unless you tell them about it.

The not so cheap, right way of doing it?

Do everything mentioned above, and apply for official recognition by National Day Calendar.  Applicants submit a brief online form which then goes before a committee who review it. They must unanimously agree on the day for it to be featured on the calendar. But this is not cheap . It can cost   $2,300 to $4,500 if you want National Day Calendar to help promote this new day you’ve created.

So, pour yourself a glass of milk.  Say howdy to your favorite Arkansan. Splash in a puddle if you can do so safely. 

What national day would you create?  Let me know.  Maybe I can help you celebrate it!

4 Benefits of Adding Voice Over to Your Employee Training

The heart of a  company comes from its people.  We’ve all heard this.  We may have even rolled our eyes and thought it cliché.  Cliché or not, it’s true.  And after these last two years of having to turn our company’s daily operations upside down due to COVID, we now get it.  We know the truth in that one statement.

The heart of a company comes from its people.  Are they skilled?  Friendly?  Customer-focused? Confident?  These are the best attributes to have, and to say yes to all of them is golden. 

With the level of turnovers whether from burn-out, retirement or the current resignation culture that we’ve been experiencing, chances are – you’re hiring.  According to Gallup research 48% of the US working population is either job searching or waiting for opportunities.  And your new employees will need training.  And your current employees need to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, new products, customer needs, and more. 

To do it right will take a lot of preparation and a lot of time.  That’s why businesses across the world have been leaning in and using eLearning.  Training Industry’s 2022 Trends Report is focusing on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of training programs.

  • Upskilling the workforce
  • Engaging and motivating and employees through L&D
  • Integrating learning in the flow of work
  • Developing robust learning experiences for dispersed workforces
  • Ensuring employees receive the right training at the right time

4 Benefits of Adding Voice Over to Your Employee Training

Voice improves your brand recall by 22%. A professional voice over can present your brand in a distinct style that is linked to your market segment and target audience, humanizing your company.

Voice improves employee engagement by 54%.  A professional voice over catches and keeps your employee attention longer.  Sitting in front of a screen, reading material that you may not understand makes your employee feel isolated and on their own.

Voice  brings life to your eLearning course.  A professional voice over artist can express warmth, confidence, friendliness, authority, urgency, and… humor. Humanizing the voice performance makes your employee feel connected and  engaged in a meaningful conversation… “spoken with”, not “spoken to.” 

Voice improves employee retention of the materials by 82%.  Why else do you think radio has  survived the emergence of television?    Your employee will not have to switch from reading material printed on the screen and viewing the images and video of tasks being presented.  This act of switching from watching to reading is known to have negative effects on your memory of the material.  But what you hear, you remember – 82% of the time. And if you don’t believe me, answer this question:  Why’d you listen to podcast instead of reading the blog?

Why Broadcast Quality Sound is Important

Video featuring business and sound studio activities and checklist for Broadcast Quality Sound.

Practically every Voice Over will say they provide “broadcast quality sound” and they should – provide it, that is. But what is it? And why should you care?

Studies by TechSmith and Statisa show:

25% of people will watch through until the end of a video with good quality sound.
Your brand image is seen as inviting, relatable, and engaging when audio quality is good.

33% will abandon the video within seconds if the audio quality is poor.
Your brand image will be seen as sloppy, uncaring, and unprofessional when audio quality is poor.

Broadcast Quality Sound:

  • standup alongside other commercial recordings
  • recorded within a suitable range
  • avoids unwanted noise and distortion
  • meets the highest technical standards
  • sounds good on all broadcast platforms

Let’s Take a Deeper Dive

Standup Alongside Other Commercial Recordings

Have you ever listened to a string of commercials and had the sound drop to super quiet level for one commercial only to soar back full volume for the next? I just had this happen this morning.  It tends to occur more often around the holidays when the broadcast stations are airing more local commercials which may not have gone through professional sound editing. And it doesn’t matter how cute your holiday gift shop is if I can’t hear the shop’s name or location.

Recorded Within a Suitable Range

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get over technical here. Let me just say that a Voice Over professional will record in a good range (-12dB to -6dB) so they can produce final audio capped at -3dB that isn’t distorted, noisy, or overprocessed. This allows the audio to be mixed with background music, sound effects, or other audio in a balanced and pleasant manner. And it won’t shred your ears if the volume’s turned up.

Avoids Unwanted Noise and Distortion

In the world of voice over, sound is everything.

It doesn’t matter if your VO has a “great voice,” or a “cute voice,” or a “deep voice.” Those are branding decisions. But if the recording environment has too much ambient noisy, lets sound enter from other areas, or is full of hard surfaces that create hollow or reverbed sound, the recording isn’t going to be good.

It must start with a good space, the right treatment, good equipment and software, and a VO that knows how to bring it all together when they address the mic.

Meets the Highest Technical Standards

I could get very technical here, but I won’t. The audio you receive from your Voice Over Talent should have a low noise floor. No higher than -60dB, no lower than -90dB. In layman’s terms, find a space in the recording where there is no voice, just background.  Select it. Turn up your headphones (not too far) and listen.  Are you hearing a ton of background noise? Are you hearing dead silence? You don’t want either. The first interferes with listening and the second makes you feel like the voice attacking you when it pops out of nowhere.

Sounds Good on All Broadcast Platforms

If the audio is created and produced along the points mentioned above, chances are it will sound great regardless of where it is used. Broadcast Quality Sound can be used everywhere: podcasts, television, radio, streaming services, audiobooks, answering machines. So, in summary, here’s a handy checklist for you.

Broadcast Quality Sound Checklist

  • Clear, not muffled, or indistinct
  • Noise free
  • No environmental sounds
  • No reverb, echo, or distortion
  • No audible edit points
  • Loud enough you don’t need to turn up your headphones

5 Reasons Why Business Owners Are Now Using Professional Voice Over Artists in Their Business

Video on the benefits of using Voice Over in business

1) Their brand is more memorable with great voiceover, which means more brand equity and customers remember you.

2) A professional voiceover on the video helps increase sales as stated in the independent survey from wise owl. In fact, explainer videos for brands are amazing at increasing revenue.

3) Times Saving. With minimal direction of voiceover can create the right voice for your brand leaving you to get on with more important things. 

4) Using the right tone and emotion. Professional voiceovers help customers stay engaged in videos and watch more of them which leads to a deeper connection and more sales.

5) The right voice becomes an anchor for your brand. They remember the voice they remember what was said they remember your brand. This helps to get customers to know like and trust you.

Other avenues a business owner can use voiceover for are:
video marketing,
audio marketing,
telephony and IVR,
eLearning courses,
podcasts, and
radio advertising.

If you have a project that you feel would benefit from a professional voiceover please visit my website to find out more. Go to www and let me empower your story with voice.