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Voicing The Infomercial: Stimulate
Listener By Talking About 'Us'
 
By Kevin Delaney
Voice Actor & Coach
 
When you perform an Infomercial voice over, you have three basic options in terms of how you deliver the copy.
 
One, you can talk about yourself.
 
You can express how great you think the product is - the joy that it has brought to your life, how it has made everything better for you by eliminating your problems.
 
Two, you can talk about the listener.
 
You can tell the person standing in front of you how awesome their life will become once they receive the product and start using it.
 
Three, you can talk about us.
 
When doing an Infomercial voice over (or any direct spokesperson VO), you should always have someone clearly in mind whom you're speaking to.
 
Select a person from your own life, one you think would make a good prospect.
 
See him or her before you, and deliver your read directly to that individual.
 
RELATE TO LISTENER
 
To "talk about us" (number three above), you will speak from your own enthusiasm for the product, while addressing yourself to the listener's feelings, needs and desires.
 
The underlying attitude of a good Infomercial read is:
"I think this item is magnificent - don't you agree? Wouldn't it be outstanding if you, too, could enjoy the privilege of owning it?"
YOU HAVE NO PROBLEMS ...
 
In an article I wrote for my Voiceover Ninja blog, I mentioned that an Infomercial VO announcer is essentially a character who has no problems.
 
 Life is wonderful for this person; all of their conflicts have been resolved, thanks to the product being promoted.
 
.... SOLVE LISTENER'S PROBLEM
 
 The person you're speaking to, however, does have problems - big ones!
 
They waste effort cleaning the floor. Preparing healthy meals takes too long. They're overweight and out of shape, but they don't have the time or motivation to exercise.
 
You empathize with this person - you were once like them.
 
When you "talk about us," the subtext of your read is:
"I know the struggle you're going through. But I have great news! Things don't have to be this way any longer."

MAKE CONNECTION

When directors ask for a "conversational" read, they're usually not requesting that you sound literally like a person chatting with someone over lunch.
 
"Conversational" is director-speak for connected; a conversational read is one that brings the listener in on the dialogue.
 
TRY THIS ...
 
To give yourself the assignment: "Let's talk about us" is to connect with your listener and invite him or her to participate your story.
 
You give your listener permission to become emotionally invested in what you're expressing - which, incidentally, is the only way to stimulate a person to buy anything.
 
Master the art of talking about us - of connecting with your listener personally, on an emotional level - and, combined with some savvy self-marketing, you'll find yourself booked for a long time doing Infomercial VO.

ABOUT KEVIN ...
 
Kevin Delaney is a voice over artist and coach in Los Angeles whose Voiceover Ninja blog contains podcasts about the business and craft of voice acting. He also frequently hosts online classes and workouts for voice over artists.
 
Voiceover Ninja Blog: www.VoiceoverNinja.com
Online VO Workouts: www.VoiceoverWorkouts.com
 
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Comments (5)
David Brecher
9/17/2011 at 8:08 PM
Kevin...
Nuance is the key. Identifying with the listener, knowing what they are looking for will create a simpatico, a "knowing", and that can determine success.

As usual, your input is always right on!!!
ELizabeth Holmes
7/10/2011 at 1:07 PM
Thanks, Kevin!

This is particularly helpful to me: "Conversational" is director-speak for connected; a conversational read is one that brings the listener in on the dialogue.

Whether or not there are any informercials in my future, I'll remember this helpful direction.
Angela McEwan
7/9/2011 at 2:46 PM
Thanks for the good tips, Kevin. As Don Burns used to say, "It's all good news, even if you're talking about burial plans."
Steve Singer
7/9/2011 at 1:03 PM
Kevin-
I always enjoy your webinars and look forward to more.
Steve
Paul Strikwerda
7/8/2011 at 8:42 AM
Most infomercials stand out in one respect: there's no connection, just a cliché. It's about telling, selling and reading disclaimers as fast as you can.

I agree that creating a connection is vital for any script to work. Unfortunately, script writers don't seem to give us much to work with. That's because - in essence - the infomercial concept is based on deception.

An infomercial is a commercial (often poorly) disguised as objective information. That's what makes it insincere at the core. Listeners and viewers pick up on that from the get-go, even without watching the fake testimonials.

For a true connection to happen, the listener/viewer needs to trust and believe what they are hearing and seeing. If they don't, there's no connection, only rejection.

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