Young woman with modern speech bubble

From Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam offers guidance from voice-over artists on how to use your voice to enchance your persuasiveness. Laura writes:


Counterintuitively, if you want to sound better, don’t worry too much about your voice. “You can be stumbling, you can have the worst-sounding voice in the world, but you can still command rapt attention because of your story,” says Adam Verner, a voice-over artist who has recorded hundreds of audio books and commercials.

Since content is king, take some time to figure out what you’re trying to convey. Ask yourself: “Why did the author write this piece?” and “What is the conflict here? What is the motivation?” says Verner. “In theater, we call it the ‘stakes,’ as in, ‘what’s at stake here?'” he explains. Even if you’re reading a corporate memo to your direct reports at a weekly staff meeting, you can massively increase engagement if you convey that you’ve thought about what’s coming out of your mouth, and that you are using a tone that’s appropriate to the situation.


If you’re going to be reading (or reciting) something you’ve written, you’re in luck. You can proactively make the whole process easier for yourself by writing in the right style. “People don’t tend to write intending for speech,” says Verner. But they should. Even when people are reading something silently to themselves, they are actually saying the words in their heads. That means that writing that will sound good read aloud comes across as good writing, even if it is never read aloud.


Vary your sentence length, though in general aim for shorter sentences you can march through on one breath. “Clarity, simplicity, is everything,” says Donna Mac, a communications coach and broadcaster who has worked in radio for over 25 years.

For the full story, see How To Make Your Voice Sound Better So People Will Actually Listen To You