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Are You Slipping Into A Voice Over Pandemic
Delivery? Tips For Regaining Your Expressive Voice
September 22, 2020

By Ann Utterback
Voice Specialist and Author, Broadcast Voice Handbook

As the COVID 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 voice over 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?

One day of low energy can keep ad agencies from calling. And in a voice over 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.


One of the easiest ways to pep up your voicing is to give stock or repeated phrases some spice. 

For instance, 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, see this article).

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 (check out this post on expanding your range).

Try using one or all options above. You'll sound more interesting and relate to your listener more effectively.
Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D., is a voice specialist with more than 40 years experience and has helped hundreds of people make the most of their voices, working with broadcasters, voice over artists and podcasters around the world. An author of eight books and over 50 articles on voice, her Broadcast Voice Handbook is a classic textbook offering more advice on how to improve your voice over performance.


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Comments (1)
Larry Wayne
9/23/2020 at 1:44 PM
Ann...Your article is an encouragement to me! Too often I find myself doing auditions in my "normal" voice...This is a great reminder that we are voice Actors...and as such have the liberty to move around, either up or down in our range, to make a delivery sound a certain way.
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