Here’s a glimpse into a conversation I have many, many times a month.

Customer:
But the girl in the office could record our on-hold message. She’s got a lovely voice. She sounds like Carole Vorderman.

Me:
Why were you thinking of hiring a professional voiceover? What made you think of contacting me?

Customer:
To make it sound proper.

Me:
I think you’ve said it all there. A professional voiceover can make a script sound just that: professional.

Customer:
But Shelly from Accounts is cheap. Well, free, actually…

Me:
By all means go ahead and use your colleague to voice your on-hold message, and I’m sure you’ll save yourself a bit of money doing it that way but I bet it won’t sound as polished or professional as anything voiced by a pro voiceover.

Customer:
She did the announcements for our Christmas karaoke do.  Everyone said she sounded just like Davina McCall.

Me:
I thought you said she sounded like Carole Vorderman?

Customer:
AND Davina McCall.  That’s how good she is.

Me:
Then if you’d feel more comfortable asking Shelly to record your stuff, go ahead.  But if you’re concerned about your company’s image, the customer’s perception of your goods and services then I strongly recommend you use a professional.

Customer:
(pause)  Can you do Davina McCall?

Sooo many times people suggest using a colleague to voice their corporate material:  on-hold stuff, web audio, conference intros, training material, marketing DVDs etc etc etc. Now I’m not against a civvie having a nice voice and using it. But more often that not, a professional image is only won by having any information for general consumption voiced by a pro. It’s that simple. A professional knows about microphone technique, pace, pause, inflection, tone colour, diction, accentuation – I could go on, but I rather fear I’d bore you.

Trust me, if you’re thinking of having any of your material voiced up and you’re concerned about projecting a positive image for your organisation, use a pro. It doesn’t even have to be me!  But trust me, go to a pro who knows how to attend to your needs. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

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