Motivational voice overs can be a very powerful way to connect with an audience. When it’s done properly, a good motivational read can have a deep impact on people across all ages, colors and backgrounds.
But the opposite is also true: when a voice over misses the mark, it can ruin the whole message. A bad delivery doesn’t just fail to inspire. It can come across as cheesy.
So, what are the dynamics of a motivational voice over? What motivates us vs. what makes us cringe? What inspires us vs. what leaves a bad impression?
As a professional voice actor, I’ve done motivational voiceovers for many companies, including Pepsi, Nike and the Kansas City Chiefs, to name a few. Here’s what I’ve learned about what makes these voice overs effective, and what doesn’t.
A shared human experience
Why are motivational voice overs so powerful? It’s because every human can relate to the feeling of being inspired. We all understand it on a deep human level.
What motivates us may be different for each person. But that feeling of being motivated and compelled to action is a shared human experience. It’s endearing to us and our spirit.
This is also why inspirational voice overs are commonly used by a variety of organizations, from athletic brands to churches. When they hit the mark, they’re more than just inspiring. They’re moving, emotional and memorable.
A good motivational voice over creates the opportunity for reflection.
For the voice actor, this can mean getting closer to the microphone, maybe speaking a bit softer, like you’re having an intimate conversation. That delivery is just as important as the message. Done well, the voice over makes you reflect on things about life, a goal, a lifestyle, a product – whatever the objective may be.
But the beautiful thing about motivational voiceovers is what happens next.
Building intensity and passion
The voice over becomes even more powerful as it builds in intensity. It starts out soft and intimate, then it gets more passionate … and more passionate … and more passionate … until you reach a final climactic moment of triumph – the moment where all that initial reflection shifts into inspiration and action.
For the voice actor, cadence and timing are so important here. An inspirational voice gains momentum in line with the message and the music. There’s a push—building to a more powerful voice—and then a release.
That’s the dynamics of a good motivational voice over.
Now, I want to talk a little more about what these voice overs can accomplish, whether it’s an advertising voiceover, sports voiceover or a VO for other projects.
Motivation to act
Every human knows what it’s like to feel a little ounce of motivation. To inject that motivation into your message, it needs to be done in a way that we can feel and relate to the beauty and the grace of a voice that builds and makes you reflect.
That voice is what gives people the motivation to take action … to make one more day better … to make a life change … to try something new … to look in the mirror and be proud of who they are.
Each message will have its own specific goal. But the voice is what really drives it home, resonates with the audience and gets them to take the next step.
That’s the power and the beauty of a motivational voice over.
PRO TIP: Always consider the relatability of the voice. Motivational messages are even more effective when the audience thinks, “Hey, that sounds like me. I can do this too…”
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