The YOU in Voiceover Technique

I’m going to get a little redundant here with a voiceover technique. I’m going to show you many examples of the same concept. If I’m preaching to the converted I apologize, and/or stop reading after the next sentence.  If you think the word YOU is important in a voiceover script, you’re mistaken. It’s the least important word. Really. Really really. I’ll show you.

First of all, let’s talk about this. Why is “you” in a voiceover, in a commercial, not important?  Well, anyone listening to the commercial is assuming they are the you.  This is what people do when they’re being spoken to.  More importantly though, the word YOU is in so many commercials. The YOU does nothing to distinguish itself as a defining factor for that specific product, whatever it may be. A car. A soda. A baby wipe. When they’re talking to YOU about it, it’s not the YOU that is special or specific in any way. It’s the rear-wheel suspension. It’s the zero calories. It’s the fragrance-free. These things matter. You don’t. Ok, that was just fun to say. Sorry. But I hope you get my point here. YOU do not need emphasis, because you have already, as the listener, placed yourself, as the listener, in the scene. So now it becomes about the scene. about the product. What can it DO?  What can it do FOR you?  Let’s find some supporting evidence.

The way we will go about this technique is to assume that in each sentence there is a point to be made.  To make a point, you can only really emphasize a word or two. Any more than that and you’re losing them on what the focus should be on. The “point” words lose their meaning and power if there are too many of them. So this will be our ground rule for the sentence – choosing one or two words that most emphasize the POINT.


Ok, so what’s it about?  You?  No, you already put yourself as the you in the you.  No need to emphasize. Want?  Want what?  Oh yes, a latte. What kind?  A great one. If you had to pick only one or two words that speak to the point here, “great latte” wins. “You” loses.


Not only is you unimportant again, but here it is said twice. That means by the nature of its own repetition, it already has been emphasized so you don’t need to.  By that respect “want” isn’t it either. That leaves us with “phones” and “whatever.”  That is what they’re selling, after all. PHONES, for WHATEVER your individual needs are.


Ok, little tricky. We know to ignore the YOUR at this point. Do we make it about the “worst” or the “cold symptoms”?  Hmm. That doesn’t tell us what’s important about this particular cold medicine. What distinguishes this one?  It provides you with FAST relief. So perhaps just “fast” gets punched. Or also “relieve”. I don’t have all the answers people. It is subjective, after all 😉


Bottom line, to make a voiceover performance powerful, you need to know what is most important each and every time. And now you know it’s not “you.”

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