Recently I joined a great group of professionals on Linkedin that are in the eLearning and Learning designer (LD) industry. I posted a blog and also asked the members of the group to tell of any issues or headaches they have working with voiceover talent.

I was blown away by the response and was subsiquently asked to make an additional post with some of my recommendations.

As I have begun to do more and more long form narration at for eLearning, explainer videos, and even audiobooks there is one main thing that keeps coming up for me. The simple need for direct communication.

As a voiceover artist I feel many times that clients just think we are supposed to “get it” (mostly relating to the first time a job is awareded). What I mean is this. When a client sends a script for the very first time and some direction like “sound natural and authoritative” they expect the voiceover talent to instinctively know what that means. This of course changes and becomes natural after the first job.

Now many times they may get exactly what they want. However, just as many times they may not and that will leave an impression that the voiceover talent just can’t do it. Let me explain why this is such a hard thing to overcome as well as a source of frustration for eLearning developers, LDs (Learning Designers) as well as voiceover talent.

For some reason we all have gotten into the habit of thinking that communicating via email is all we need to do. Just think about this for a moment. Have you ever sent a text to a spouse or a close friend and they took your words completely wrong? In fact after that happened a argument via text may have begun. All because what you meant and what they interpreted were not in sync.

When you realized this, what did you do? You called them and spoke to them to actually speak to them so that you know that they got the correct meaning. Right?

This same scenario happens between elearning companies and voiceover talent everyday. This literally never needs to occur. Now is this to say that all voiceover talent is good? No not at all. An eLearning company must do just a bit of research in order to find good reliable talent that deliver what is needed.

Let’s say you fond a voiceover talent that does have a good demo tbat sparks you to want to give them a try. Now here is where the problem begins.

You may contact the voiceover talent initially with a script and ask them to audition. Of course this entire conversation happens via email with you giving a bit of direction. The voiceover talent then sends you an email back. You listen and they don’t do it like you want. Then you simply move on to another and another and another. Let’s not forget you also trying to go through a casting site and getting hundreds of auditions that you now have to go through. Frustrated yet?

The key thing here is that you have not once actually spoken to a voiceover talent directly yet.

Again, the main problem is communication. You see as a eLearning producer or LD you have the exact “sound” of the voice you want already in your head. Yep, admit it. You do. And that is fine.

What you may not realize is that that first voiceover talent probably could have pulled it off if the two of you had simply spoken over the phone or better yet via Skype or Source-Connect with you literally being able to express verbally with emotion what you wanted and instantly have that voice talent perform it. Because now there is actual real communication happening.

Now when the voiceover talent approaches the script they know the cadence, the feel, the style they need to bring to the entire project. What’s more they feel more invested because you have brought them into the process.

My true feeling is that the hiring of voiceover talent by a Learning Designer can have much less stress and have far greater results for all involved when tber is real genuine communication person to person. Instead of trading emails and audio files endlessly.

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