A Powerful Voice Grabs Peoples' Attention

Dr. Purushothaman
October 1, 2013

When you begin to think of it logically, you will understand how important it is for your audio project to have the correct voice behind it. After all, voices are powerful. In spite of the fact that they often take a backseat in our minds to the way a person looks, without the correct voice, looks ain't nothin'. And if the voice is all a person has to go on – for instance, in a radio commercial – then the voice becomes the most important thing in the world.

A person who understands just how to use their voice can control another person just by using it properly. This is a startling concept the first time you consider it, but when you consider some of the most famous voices in the world, you will understand just how correct that is. Consider, for example, the actor Michael Wincott.

He's a good-looking guy, but of course in Hollywood that doesn't mean a whole lot. Good-looking guys are a dime a dozen. But this guy gets role after role after role based on the power of his voice. He has a voice that can keep you up at night, long after the movie is over, because you're just a little worried that the latest Michael Wincott character may just be lurking in the shadows. Remember the movie, The Count of Monte Cristo? He was the warden with the whip and the gravelly voice. Fans of the movie weren't quite sure which was more frightening, the whip – or that voice. That voice is what gets him contracts.

Consider, also, Clint Eastwood. Of course, that unflinching, squinty stare of his is something to write home about. But what do people do when they're attempting their best Eastwood impression? They give some love to the stare, but mostly they love the way he said, “Come on punk. Make my day.” Like Wincott, Eastwood has a gravelly characteristic in his voice. But once upon a time, he knew where all the pauses were supposed to happen, and that made him something worth watching. He was worth watching because he was worth hearing.

Another actor who knew what to do with his voice was Marlon Brando. Now this actor had a nasally cotton-mouth voice that, untrained, would have driven people crazy. But he became an actor. He trained that voice. He took something that stood out and made it a trademark. The rest, my friend, was timing. When he said, “I made him an offer he couldn't refuse,” as the Godfather, he didn't just say a cleverly written line – he said it with emphasis. With weight. What we are responding to isn't something these guys do instinctively. They've had training. Therefore, when they acted on those lines, the audience never knew what hit them. But they knew that it was important.

Unfortunately, Michael Wincott, Clint Eastwood, and Marlon Brando won't be available for your commercial, but they make great models to study when you are studying about how voices affect potential customers. You want to use some of the same principles in selecting your voice actor, or in determining whether to use one. You are not the only person with a message for the public. There are thousands of other messages out there as well. You will have to seduce listeners, and that means getting and keeping their attention. A powerful voice can accomplish that.


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