Communication is a funny thing. For example, I recently went to Costco for gas, and before I could turn into the pump area, one of the attendants yelled something about a “back pump.” While I heard the words, I didn’t get their meaning. Finally, after unsuccessfully trying to get gas from a pump that was trickling fuel into my car, I got clarification from another attendant. He told me the pumps as you pull up to the area are considered the back pumps, and they were not working. Therefore, I had to fill up at a pump near the far end (or the front).
Something so small almost caused me not to get gas, and these days a 40 cents saving is a big deal. While the pump information was first communicated, I didn’t understand and relate the information to make the best use of it or my time. Had the first attendant been a little more informative (or placed tape around the broken pumps), I may have better understood and had no problem getting my gas.
This is just an example of the importance of communication. Today we are faced with information overload and Fake News. As a voice talent, I know that the first rule of an audition is to follow the instructions. Unfortunately, many audio producers often receive auditions that show the talent did not read the specs or follow the instructions. Your voice is your tool for communication. Always make an effort to be clear and understood.
Communication, which includes instructions, cannot be overlooked or taken for granted. It’s how we as people live and interact with others, whether at work or play. However, the responsibility for good messaging is placed on the person doing the communicating or the sender. Here are some tips to help increase the chances of getting what you want from your communication.
Know What You Want To Communicate
We live in a busy, fast world. So, whether you are ordering pizza or developing a business proposal, start with clarifying what you want to communicate and what you expect from the receiver. In voiceovers, this means having a good idea of the basic message of a script and its purpose.
Consider Your Audience
I don’t like the phrase, “It’s common sense.” I think it is very condescending. We all have had different life experiences and make judgments and decisions based upon our practices and knowledge. We should never assume that others share all our judgments, philosophies, or views on the world.
Good voice actors and communicators, in general, think about their audience and shape their messages accordingly. Never assume that the other person or receiver will understand your terms. Be clear in the words you use and the shared meaning of them. It’s okay to supply detailed instructions if it helps the communication. Sometimes, more is better.
“You don’t realize how language actually interferes with communication until you don’t have it, how it gets in the way like an over-dominant sense.” Lily King
Choose the Best Method
Sometimes a simple conversation will do the trick, or you may have to write or find another way to get your message across. Depending upon what you want to say, make sure you use the best method to be effective and suitable in getting your message delivered.
To apply methods to voiceacting, this may include voice and emotions. Using the right emotions at the right point in a delivery can have a powerful impact on listeners. Carefully crafted emotions are powerful tools used by the best voice artists.
Keep It Simple
Your crafted, audience-based message can be simple and still contain the right words needed to convey the meaning. Of course, we do this every day to the people in our regular circles. Still, if you are speaking to a stranger, new work associate, or the like, you may need to make quick judgments about how to communicate well in a non-condescending way, but still be successful. This can take time but putting a little thought into how we speak to and share with others is a necessary skill set we should practice daily.
Follow up and Get Feedback
The sender in communication should look for evidence from the receiver that they have understood the message. Your receiver may or may not respond verbally, but their actions should give you feedback.
Some receivers may repeat back what has been said. This is an excellent technique because it allows the receiver to ask questions. Moreover, the sender becomes the receiver and can critique if their message was successfully conveyed.
The bottom line is to consider your listener or receiver when interacting and how they can best understand your message. If you keep others in mind as you communicate, many things will fall inline.
There will be communication failures, but that’s when we take a breath and start all over again. So, yes, sometimes we get a do-over—simple stuff.
If you’d like more on improving your communication in business, see Entrepreneur’s 14 Proven Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills. Good stuff.
Be a great communicator, it’s your voice. Break that lip!