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Unique As A Fingerprint ... Grab
The Ear With Your MONEY VOICE
April 28, 2010
Note: The author leads a special webinar on Monday night, May 3: Find & Develop Your MONEY VOICE. Presented by VoiceOverXtra, here's the link to details and registration: 
By Bettye Zoller
Voice Talent & Coach
The old motto says, “To thine own self be true.”
And grandmother said, “Never try to be someone you’re not. You might get found out!”
While the value of these and similar old sayings may be valuable in some situations, not so much in others, when talking about your “Voice Niche” or your “Voice Personality,” there is some truth here.
Everyone’s voice is unique. That’s why it’s sometimes called “a voiceprint.”
When someone phones us, we usually know who it is instantly just by the way their voice sounds. The human voice is as unique as a person’s fingerprint.
That’s partially because every person has a particular facial bone structure unlike any other, a nasal cavity shape that’s unique, a certain manner of articulating words, and so much more.
Plus, we all learn to speak under the age of about four, imitating our primary caregivers. We learn to speak by modeling speech around us.
My upbringing was not yours, nor yours mine.
Of course, we can try to imitate others’ voices, to voice characters, dialects, accents, impressions as a voice actor, to take on voice speech mannerisms not truly our own. That’s another subject.
But as actors, voice actors, we’ve been trained in certain ways. We are at various stages of our careers, and all of this helps make all of us unique as speakers.
What I’m talking about here, and what my May 3 webinar (starting at 6 p.m. Pacific time) is about, is:
  • your voice personality,
  • your voice niche,
  • what you do best as a voice performer,
  • what your “money voice” really is.
It’s about who you are as a voice, and what you should be making money with right now!
Now, that’s not to say that what you do now as a voice can’t be changed, expanded or enlarged. Of course it can!
I hope you work at expanding your voice-over skills constantly with study and practice.
But a cardinal rule for all actors, singers and performers of all kinds - including voice-over talents is this:
Never, ever show yourself to your public, your audience, in anything but TOP FORM, IN YOUR BEST LIGHT.’
The old motto, “You can never undo a first impression” rings true in nearly every situation.
And for goodness sake, never put ANYTHING on your voice-over CD or web site that isn’t world class.
I am very proud of a demo I recently created for a “cowboy character voice,” a wizened, friendly-sounding ‘Old West’ sort of guy who is a fine stage actor and who wants to do more voice-overs.
I chose the copy very carefully. It suits him to a T.
I coached his reads extensively prior to our recording session. On his voice-over CD, he talks naturally, openly, never hinting that there is a script, never letting us even suspect that he’s an actor.
On the CD, he’s a cowboy, he’s a hardware store salesperson, he is a Mark Twain type, a kindly country doctor, a grandfather, a down-home, friendly small town banker. And all of the CD examples suit his type, his personality.
He has vocal variety, of course, and shows it on the CD, but I never let him change types or persona. Just as in a stage play or film, I never let him break character. I never permitted him to switch types.
See how that can work for you?
Ah, but first, you must decide who you are as a voice.
In the May 3 webinar, I’ll help you find how to do that - to identify your voice type and persona. It's one of my most valuable skills as a voice speech coach.
So often, I hear demos that are a senseless hodge-podge, never showing a person’s type or skill or persona.
The demo does not shout, “Here he is, he’s a ___ type.” It does not grab the ear. It does not tell us who is speaking.
For instance, there might be a cowboy spot, a straight announcer spot, a character voice spot, a spot in a foreign language (and not a very good one!)
See? Nothing to hang our hats on.
That’s what makes Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, JFK, Bill Clinton, Lauren Bacall, Don LaFontaine, so iconic.
Ideally, I want people to say, after hearing one of my demo creations, “Get me a voice like (YOUR NAME GOES HERE)!"
Hope you’ll join us on Monday night, May 3, for Find & Develop Your MONEY VOICE - a highly valuable webinar.
For details and to register, please visit: Or contact VoiceOverXtra's John Florian at; 203-459-8834.
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Comments (2)
Bill Brewer
4/29/2010 at 9:14 AM
Hey Bettye,
I think I know that Guy:)
Marcus Weems
4/29/2010 at 12:28 AM
I HATE that I'm going to have to make do with the RECORDED version rather than gather your plums of wisdom LIVE at the webinar (prior comitments). But I know that I will treasure your knowledge, as always, when I transcribe the seminar and add these pages to the volumes of info you have already bestowed upon me as one of your many satisfied students. Rock on, Bettye!
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