Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Talk to Me, Not at Me — Communication Tips from Professional Voice Talent

Today we are featuring a guest post from JoJo Jensen, an independent voice talent, audio entrepreneur, and writer. We're pleased to share her thoughts about successfully delivering and recording

Talk to Me, not at Me by JoJo Jensen

Recording your Messages On Hold There is a lot of information Message On Hold clients want to share with their audience. As voice talents, it’s our job to not only convey the message, but to represent the company behind it. 

As a professional voice talent and Message On Hold connoisseur, I have read thousands of on hold and IVR scripts. Some scripts have been simple one-liners that say thank you…others have been longer lists of products, services, and credentials. With so much information, it’s easy to begin to talk at the audience and not to them.

Talking to someone is about giving the listener something to sink their ears into. Believe it or not, good messages are about conversation. Yes, it’s true people can’t converse with the message, but they can actively listen. Whether you are recording spots for a dental office or a steel pipe manufacturer, friendly and smooth reads with a conversational tone will connect with and engage your audience.

Talking at someone is like holding the audience hostage, rambling on with no connection to the material, delivering messages they will ignore, or even resent, until someone “real” answers the phone.  For the voice talent, that means flat, bored reads, and if the “messenger” doesn’t care about the material, the audience certainly won’t.

Here are some hints that will help voice talents talk to customers…not at them.

  • Always smile – even a small smile will make a positive difference in the “likability” of the read
  • Drop your volume - let your microphone do the heavy lifting.
  • No yell and sell – no one wants to be screamed at.
  • Maintain an appropriate pace - not too fast or slow - allow the listener to process the information.
  • Embrace the pause – it can add emphasis without hitting a word or phrase too hard.
  • Visualize your audience and what they want –  your thoughts and emotions will come through.

As you step in front of your microphone to record, take the opportunity to connect with the audience by talking to them, not at them. A friendly, accessible and engaging voice is always the right strategy to get the message heard.

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JoJo Jensen is a full time professional voice talent, audio entrepreneur, and writer. She loves recording on hold messages for clients all over the globe and spends too much time on Twitter. Find JoJo on Twitter @vojojo or

Tags: tips, voice talent, scriptwriting