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3.1 Find Your Best Voice

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have “great pipes” to be on camera! This lesson will teach you how to find your best voice and use it to communicate clearly and effectively.

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3.1 Find Your Best Voice

Welcome back, I'm Cindy Burgess for Tuts+. The way we look is just one way we communicate on camera. Another, is the way we sound. In this lesson, you'll learn how to find your best voice and use it to communicate clearly and effectively. The first thing to realize, is that you don't have to have that stereotypical broadcasting voice to be successful on camera. In fact, very few people are born with one. But there are things you can do to make your voice sound better. One of the most common mistakes I see with people who are new to video is they put on an announcer voice. Let's face it, many of us grew up watching TV. So it's not surprising that when we sit down in front of a video camera ourselves for the first time, not really knowing what to do, we try to emulate what we have seen on the news or other TV programs. Skip the announcer voice, don't try to lower your voice or purr to make your voice sound more pleasing. It's not natural. Unless you're portraying a character or alter ego, it's important to be yourself on camera. Your goal should be to sound as natural and unaffected as possible. I know, that's a lot easier said than done, right? I'm telling you to be natural in what for many people is a very unnatural environment. Sitting or standing in front of a video camera, microphone and lights. So, how do you get comfortable? One of the things we're taught as news anchors is to imagine that you're speaking to a friend sitting across the table. Don't think of all the people out there who might be watching you. You're not presenting to a roomful of people. Imagine the video camera is a friend, and you're having a conversation with them. That's the kind of easygoing conversational approach that you should be aiming for. You know what you're talking about, so just be yourself. It's completely natural to be nervous. Unfortunately when we're nervous, our muscles all tense up, including the muscles in our throat. This affects the sound of our voice. It may quiver or shift pitch unexpectedly. The key to a natural sounding voice is to relax those muscles. One of the ways to do that is to warm them up. If you've ever seen a professional singer get ready for a performance, you guys would laugh. They do all sorts of crazy exercises to warm up the muscles of their face, jaw and throat. Things like [SOUND], seriously [LAUGH], I've seen it. In fact, I used to crank up the radio in my car on my way to work and sing at the top of my lungs to get my voice warmed up. Now you don't have to do anything special, but I do recommend using your voice for a bit before getting in front of the camera. Whether it's singing in the shower or talking to your pet. The other thing I like to do before I start speaking is a bit of deep breathing. Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it briefly, then exhale through your mouth. [SOUND] In with the good. [SOUND] Out with the bad. [SOUND] Do this several times to help relax. A dry mouth is very common when you're doing a lot of talking, whether you're nervous or not. So make sure you keep some water nearby. Remember that lip balm from your basic makeup kit? Put some of that on to keep your lips moist so you won't lick them. That will make you look nervous for sure. If you're wearing lipstick like I am, here's a great little trick to avoid ruining it when you take a drink. Use a straw. [SOUND] Old anchor trick. So, now you're calm and relaxed and ready to start. Take your time. When we're nervous, we tend to speak quickly because we just want to get it over with. Speak slowly and really concentrate on enunciating every word. No one wants to have to rewind and listen again because they couldn't make out what you were saying. Keep in mind too, that many people multitask while watching videos. They might be writing an email or making dinner while they're listening. So speak slowly and clearly. Don't be afraid to pause at the end of a sentence to let what you said really sink in. So, just to recap, use the voice you were given, don't try to put on an announcer voice. Imagine you're talking to a friend. Warm up your voice. And take a few deep breaths to relax. And speak slowly and clearly. The good news is, each time you speak in front of a video camera, you'll be more relaxed and natural than the time before. You're only going to get better with experience. In the next chapter, you'll learn the do's and dont's of body language. I'm Cindy Burgess for Tuts+. Thanks for watching.

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