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Your Voice Over Success Mindset:
Staying Centered Behind the Mic
By Susan Berkley
Voice Talent & Coach
©2011 The Great Voice Company
I believe that a lot of people don't get the results they want behind the mic because they don't take the time to put themselves into the proper state of mind before they record.
Think of it like deleting old your old emails and emptying your mental "in-box."
Few people do this. They jump behind the mic and take all of the stresses of the day with them as they begin to read.
We need to be in a winning state of mind.
The three tenants of acting are:
  • relaxation
  • concentration
  • imagination
You can't do good voice over if your body is tense and your mind is preoccupied.


Here's my personal mindset checklist that I follow to clear my mind before every audition or recording session.

1. Solitude. I always close the door and spend a few minutes alone with the copy before I record. Most performing artists do this as well, spending time alone to get centered before they take the stage.

2. Breathe. Deep breathing exercises are part of every relaxation routine because they work. Take a yoga class or consult one of the many books available on relaxation techniques.

3. Do a mind scan.  After I relax my body, I scan my mind.
If something is troubling me, I use a technique I learned from Dr Keppe, my mentor in Brazil. It's called interiorization. Here's how it works:
When someone bothers us it's often because they remind us of something we don't want to see in ourselves.
Let's say I had a disagreement with my boyfriend. I'm angry because he's always late. I associate his attitude with selfishness. I then take a moment to try to see this same selfish attitude inside myself.
If I'm honest, I'll have to admit that I sometimes share these same attitudes. The more I can do that, the more I'll calm down.
(For more information on Dr Keppe's work, see

4. Analyze the copy. To increase your chances of winning the audition, you have to give an emotionally rich read that gives the auditor the feeling you intend, and which helps them form a clear movie in their mind.
This can be done by following the four voice acting guideposts we teach in our Voice Over Bootcamp Recording Studio Immersion Experience, and in my Voice Over Step by Step Home Study Starter System.
Take time to relax and clear your mind before every audition and practice session - and especially before bookings.
We are always more tense than we think we are, so you need to do this every time you get behind the mic.

Enroll in a local yoga class or get some books on stress reduction techniques from the library. Develop your own personal relaxation routine.

Try to identify some things that really irritate you about other people. These are often attitudes you dislike seeing in yourself. The next time someone upsets you examine your conscience for similar attitudes.

Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over talent. She is the telephone voice of AT&T and Citi,  author of Speak To Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice, and a persuasive speaking expert. A frequent media guest, she has been featured on ABC news, CNBC and in the New York Times. Through her Bootcamps, coaching programs and courses, she shares how to experience and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the voice over lifestyle and create a home-based business. For a free CD, 6 Insider Secrets For Getting Started in Voice Over, plus weekly tips and techniques, visit her website below.

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Comments (4)
Pamela Tansey
3/26/2011 at 12:32 PM
This is very useful and insightful information, thanks Susan!!
Heather Henderson
3/24/2011 at 12:20 PM
This is such a good reminder (I just tweeted it, in fact). I always check in with myself before starting a session; I try to keep my sound booth "clear" emotionally and mentally. I appreciate the techniques you share to help with that!
Paul Warwick
3/23/2011 at 1:45 PM
Dan Deslaurier
3/23/2011 at 6:02 AM
Thank you, Susan, for sharing your insights. During the course of the day I wear many hats, and sometimes more than one at a time! Sometimes it is easy to fall into bad habits and rush through reads.

I will keep your checklist close at hand (or, better yet, under one of those hats I wear!)

Many Thanks,
Dan Deslaurier
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