Top 8 Ways To Sound Natural Reading From a Script
By Susan Berkley
Sooner or later you’re going to have to deliver a scripted presentation. It may be in front of an audience. It may be over the phone. You may be recording an audio tape. Or you may even find yourself on the air with your own radio show!
The biggest mistake script readers make is getting so engrossed in correctly saying the words on the page, they forget to communicate with the human beings on the other side of the paper! They sound stilted, boring and put every one to sleep.
Don’t let that happen to you. Here are 8 of my broadcaster’s tips to help you sound great
- People speaking on the radio for the first time often mistakenly visualize a cast of thousands. People listen in groups of one. When reading to an audience or when speaking on radio, imagine you are speaking to an intimate friend. Really see your friend’s face in your mind’s eye.
- Look up occasionally to make eye contact, even if there is only one other person in the room. If you are reading from a script in a studio read to the recording engineer or anyone else who happens to be there.
- Communication rides on energy. Speak with your entire body. Gesture frequently, even if no one can see you. When public speaking, if you have a portable mic, move around the stage. Imagine you are an actor in a staged reading or a newscaster on TV.
- Pause strategically for a few seconds to let your message sink in. While pausing, make eye contact. You can also pause as if searching for your next thought.
- Ad lib wherever possible. Put the script into your own words.
- Study the way people talk in casual conversation and emulate these speech patterns while reading from a script. Evesdrop in restaurants. Notice how vocal dynamics fluctuate: louder, softer. Also notice how the pacing of conversational speech tends to vary and how the range of inflection is wide.
- When writing your own script, write like people speak- bad grammer and all (skip the foul language, of course!). Be conversational, not gramatical. I promise I won’t tell your high school english teacher.
- Add a few select non-words to give a more casual impression.
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com
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