Sounding Like Yourself

Listen to “Sounding Like Yourself”

At first, I used to stand up when I narrated HowSound. I had this set-up in my office where I hung a blanket in the door frame of a closet, placed a mic on a mic stand in front of the blanket, and stood while I read from the script in my hand.

After quite a few episodes, I decided I sounded too energetic; I didn’t need to sound like I was talking to a room full of a few dozen people, I thought. So, I sat down. Kept the same set-up, but plopped myself in a chair and read.

That seemed to bring my energy down a notch or two. In a good way. I don’t know if listeners noticed, but I did. So, I’ve been sitting ever since.

Then, I started sitting at a table. I no longer held my printed script in my hand, I read off my computer. That helped, too.

But, then, maybe ten episodes or so ago I thought, “Hmmm. I’m still too energetic and I still sound like I’m reading.” I think my reads have gotten better with each new position, but, to my ears, I still sound like I’m projecting too much. That’s when I stumbled on a new way to sit.

Now, I lean my elbows on the table. Somehow, that relaxes me, and I hope I sound more like I’m talking to a handful of people, not reading to a few dozen.

And that’s just trying to figure out how to sit! There are so many more considerations when it comes to voicing. That’s why there are voice coaches. And, Viki Merrick is Transom’s. She coaches students at the Transom Story Workshop as well as reporters at Frontline’s podcast, The Dispatch, Only A Game, and elsewhere. On this episode of HowSound, Viki offers her tips on sounding like yourself.


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  • Gregory Haddock



    “You want them to lean in.” When I am recording, I rarely have the feeling that I need a cattle prod, and yet I feel like sitting takes away too much energy. Often, the question doesn’t feel like one of enthusiasm, but authenticity. Like turning my “radio voice” and off again, leaving a lingering sensation of unease. I need to try and remember the “Hey, Viki…” trick. I like that.

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