Strengthen Your VO Technique with a Grocery List

by Sally Clawson
3/11/20

Do you use a grocery list when shopping? I certainly do. I can focus on filling my cart with essentials instead of potato chips.

Sometimes I end up walking the aisles, speaking the list out loud. Turns out this is a valuable tool that helps me, and can help you, strengthen your voice over performance.

When recording a voice over script, have you ever noticed that your energy and engagement dwindle at the ends of sentences? Maybe you begin to mumble and fade out. That’s caused from habits when reading aloud. We’ve been taught to vocally indicate that a sentence is ending by winding down our energy when we see the period approaching. In voice over, this deflates the impact of your message because your audience stops listening This habit also occurs at the ends of paragraphs, which is deadly in commercial work, since the client’s branding and tagline is always stated at the end.

Recite your grocery list out loud to help.

Try this sentence out loud: “I’m going to the store to buy butter.” That is a short, definitive sentence.  Your energy and forward momentum stop after saying “butter” because that’s the end.  

Now say this out loud: “I’m going to the store to buy butter, bread, eggs, milk…” Do you hear how you energetically lift each word into the next? And do you hear how each item stands out? Reciting a list pushes your energy forward because you know - and therefore sound like - there is more to come.

When speaking voice over text, and you come to the end of a sentence, vocally lift the last word like an item in the middle of your grocery list. This will not only strengthen the impact of your ideas, but also the listener will hear the vocal lift and will know that you have more to say. Leave your audience anticipating what comes next.

If you use a grocery list – rejoice! Practice strengthening your VO technique, which will build your confidence and bookings. And, perhaps, keep your cupboards full.

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