make your voice BOOM (in the right ways)
When I was in high school I participated in theater. When it comes to perfecting the art of speaking, as far as acting is concerned, they teach you to speak from your belly and let your voice project up and over the audience. It’s a way of speaking loudly without yelling and it takes some time to learn to do it well.
When I got into college I started broadcasting and learning the art of speaking into a microphone or headset - something which is both my responsibility to control while also getting some help from someone in a control room who can make my mic pick up more or less sound as needed. And, just like theater, my facial expressions and body movements go hand in hand with my voice. In other words, I can use two different things to carry my words out to an audience.
When I started working in the professional world after college I started to dabble in radio and eventually dove head first into podcasting, both of which require the audience to rely on your voice only.
Unfortunately for me (as far as audio and my producers on broadcasts are concerned) I have a tendency to be extremely emphatic with my voice and, yes, even at times yell - don’t ask me how many times I’ve had a producer say they spent most of a broadcast riding my audio.
While these qualities of myself are good in many ways - it’s what makes me a passionate broadcaster and podcaster - it has been a skill I’ve needed to learn to develop: the skill of being emphatic, passionate, loud (in the right ways) while simultaneously not blasting out the eardrums of listeners and pissing off the poor audio person who is stuck controlling my mic for the day.
So let’s backtrack for a second. You’re probably thinking, “Okay, so you yell a lot, have you considered just not yelling?” (Stephen A Smith would like a word). Keep in mind, I work in sports, something that is filled with excitement and chaos and passion. And in college I once had someone tell me that in order to succeed as a sports broadcaster, you have to abandon the fan in you--to which I say, to hell with that.
I chased a career in sports BECAUSE I’m a fan. I’m not abandoning that part of me now that I’m here. In fact, I think that’s part of what has made me successful in what I do. So that requires me to be passionate and let my emotions fly in all the best ways.
But I have learned (a lot) when it comes to how I talk and project my voice in terms of broadcasting while still being passionate.
Broadcasting in front of a camera:
When you’re able to rely on both your facial expressions (and/or gesticulations) and your voice to express yourself this makes the task of controlling your voice a little bit easier. Let your hands and eyes do some of the talking. People will be able to pick up on what you’re saying in more than one way so you don’t have to go overkill on the audio. On the plus side though, you’ll have someone in some room somewhere keeping an eye on your audio and making sure it doesn’t spike. And if your voice starts doing too much they can ride the audio to adjust to it.
Broadcasting with no camera (radio, podcasting):
This is where things get trickier. In these instances you might not have anyone running an audio board, meaning if there’s any problems you might not know until you’re done recording and will have to try to fix it then. Something I’ve learned to try to do is give myself limits: “I’m not talking any quieter than *this* and not talking any louder than *this*”. It will take a conscious effort to stay within those boundaries but it will help out whoever is editing the content when it’s all said and done.
Lastly, some advice that applies to any situation is just to know your equipment and know the capabilities of whoever is running the audio board or editing the content. Some microphones pick up sound much easier than others. Some people only know the basics when it comes to audio editing and others always have a few tricks up their sleeve. Oh and mic check mic check mic check. Never go into a broadcast audio blind. Give the producers a chance to know what they’re working with. I’m also never afraid to tell a producer, “hey listen I’m a real loud talker”.
You’ll perfect your broadcasting voice as you go and you’ll understand audio equipment better the more you work in the field. Just like we need to adjust to the audio equipment the audio equipment also has ways to adjust to us. So find what works for you and then stick with it.