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When I Felt It, 1 Important Rule Of My Small Business Became Clear

Small Business Preparation

The air smelled fresh on this cool, fall day.

The sky looked clear as the sun tip-toed its way behind the trees.

The quick movements of squirrels in the trees sounded frantic as they packed away food for the winter.

Then I felt it.

OW!

In the middle of my run, I got a stitch in my abdomen.

I tried to keep the same pace, but I kept getting bent over. I tried slowing down to more of a speed walk, but I still felt the pain. I did my best to push through the pain when I ran by anyone so I didn’t look like a wimp who can’t do a medium-paced jog. I have to look totally normal and cool even though I’m in pain, right?

The pain was still there and it was terrible.

I slowed down my run to a normal walking speed. The pain slowly subsided. I tried to pick up the speed a few different times, but the pain came back almost immediately. The stitch in my side won the battle.

 

So frustrating.

 

As I walked back, I tried to figure out why I would feel this intense pain. I’ve had abdomen pain before when I ran but not for a long time.

According to Runner’s World, an online publication all about the world of running, it was a simple side stitch or pain that can happen to people when running. (Don’t worry, it was nothing major.)

Some of the best ways to prevent side stitches are to avoid eating one to two hours before running, increase your water intake throughout the day, and warm up well before running fast.

I looked back on my day and realized that I had failed to do all three. I ate lunch no more than an hour before running. I drank far too little water leading up to that point. And I definitely didn’t warm up because I needed to get the run done so I could get back to work as quickly as possible.

 

The 1 Clear, Important Rule Of My Small Business

 

This pain was avoidable. It’s frustrating how avoidable it was.

There are “pains” in my voice over business that are avoidable, too. How can I avoid those pains?

Officer Yelling

I’m not going to let you in on some groundbreaking piece of advice. In reality, this is super easy. It’s straightforward. But it’s uber important for your to do, both professionally and personally. I’m going to put on my drill sergeant voice as you read this 1 rule that became so clear to me. Imagine me yelling this at you:

 

YOU MUST PREPARE FOR EVERY ACTION! AND IF YOU AREN’T PREPARED, YOU BETTER DAMN WELL LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!

 

Jogging is a straightforward task. I have to stand up, balance, and start churning my legs at a pretty accelerated rate. As straightforward as it is, if I don’t prepare for it, I am going to suffer some (painful) consequences.

Without full preparation, I will suffer major consequences in my own professional voice over business. This is true in your business, job, and life, too.

(photo by ExpertInfantry)

 

Here is a list of 4 things that I do every day that I have to fully prepare for every day. If I don’t prepare for them, there are many possible bad consequences which are listed as well:

Speaking all day long

-Fatigue
-Hoarseness
-Minor or major injury
-Dehydration
-Pain

Lego In JailKeeping track of invoices and expenses

-Major tax issues
-Not getting paid on time
-Looking unprofessional to clients
-Losing out on some write-offs on the tax return

(Lego in jail photo by Brad Montgomery)

Recording an audition

-Incorrect pronunciations
-Inappropriate stylistic choices and script interpretation
-Failure to send the right file format to a client
-Failure to send the audition on time
-And a helluva lot more consequences…

Calling and e-mailing prospective clients

-Sounding hurried, unconfident, or tentative on the phone call or e-mail
-Getting turned away because I didn’t study the client and his or her company, making me look spammy
-Getting disorganized, overwhelmed and mistakenly contacting a company multiple times because I don’t have a system of keeping track of these interactions
-Feeling defeated because none of these marketing attempts are working

 

Sometimes, you don’t always know that you’re under prepared until you feel the pain like I did on that crisp fall day. But after you suffer the consequences, you have to learn from those mistakes to better prepare for next time.

You also can’t control all outcomes or avoid all pain (that would be unhealthy and boring anyway), but you can prepare to the best of your ability, knowledge and experience to avoid some unnecessary and avoidable poor outcomes.

 

So my challenge for you today and everyday: Prepare.

 

What are some tasks in your business, job, or life that carry some bad consequences if you don’t fully prepare for them? What are those consequences? Please share them in the comments section below.

 

Thanks for reading, and never try to run through a side stitch.

 

P.S. To avoid the scary consequences of not reading my upcoming blog posts, prepare by subscribing in the upper right hand corner of this page.

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Posted in All Posts, Health and Voice Over Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How This 1 Stealthy Word Change Slapped On 263% More Clicks

 

More Blog Post ClicksThe only difference between two of my recent voice over blog posts was 1 word, and it resulted in 263% more clicks for one over the other.

I want you to know that I’m not very happy about this because I hate playing favorites with my voice over blogs. They’re like children to me, and I like them all equally! Why would you play favorites?! Did one of them smell bad or something?

You KNOW how much that messes with their heads…

Whhhyyyyy?! Johnny (in the clip below) from my favorite horrible movie knows how I feel.

 

 

Small business owners (like me) need to drive traffic to their websites to help spark a relationship with potential clients. They can do that by creating online content like blogs and videos. But why does some content get clicked all the time in e-mails, on social media like Facebook and Twitter, and in other places while other content doesn’t?

I couldn’t help but get to the bottom of why this 1 word change in 2 of my blog posts would create such a difference in clicks. What I found is actually quite flippin’ useable for creating blog post titles and web content that get CLICKED!

First, let’s look at the voice over blog post titles in question:

 

11 Things You DO Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over

 

And

 

11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over

 

One uses “DO”; the other uses “Don’t”.

 

Which one got 263% more clicks than the other?

 

Before I tell you the answer, I want you to guess. Take a second, imagine yourself scrolling through Facebook or Twitter looking at all the random stuff you see popping up all over the place, and you see both of these titles hovering on your feed. Which one would have you thinking… “Hmmm… I wonder what that’s all about… I want to read more!”?

You guessed it (most likely)! It’s the “11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over” title. It’s crazy to me that changing the word from “DO” to “Don’t” would make such a massive difference, but it did.

And just so you know that I’m not just pulling these numbers out of my butt, here are the exact number of unique page views to date via my Google Analytics page. In case you don’t know, a unique page view is usually defined as the first time a specific IP address visits your site/page. For example, if the same person visits 5 times from the same IP, it will show as 1 unique page view.

“DO” post: 222 unique page views

“Don’t” post: 583 unique page views

 

Why did the “Don’t” post do so much better? It boils down to some basic but powerful psychology.

 

1. People Like SecretsGirls Telling Secrets

Admit it. You love it when someone tells you a secret that you aren’t supposed to share with anyone else. It means that person trusts you with personal information. It’s an honor and a privilege to be let in on that kind of info.

I entrusted you with information that I didn’t necessarily want my mom to know. It is implied that my mom probably already knows the stuff I DO want her to know about voice over, because it is all good stuff that I’m proud to talk about. It is not very secretive or sensitive. But I shared some not-so-great information with you that was personal to me and my career in voice over that I didn’t really want her to know (even though she subscribes to my blog and I put it all over the internet/Facebook). This made you more likely to click. By the way, I clearly wasn’t very good at keeping that information a secret.

(photo by ElizaC3)

 

2. People Don’t Want To LoseChicago Cubs Fans

I bet there has been at least 1 moment in your life that you didn’t want to tell your mom about. That’s fine. We want to make our parents proud. If we can avoid making them upset, we’ll do it.

People don’t want to lose. Just ask Cubs fans. In psychology, this is called “Loss Aversion.” It suggests that people tend to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. So by withholding this sensitive voice over information from your mom and avoiding making her upset, you are trying to avoid the “loss” or hurt feelings in your relationship. By preferring the “Don’t” article, you are showing that you’d rather read the information that avoids the loss than the information that creates gain.

(photo by BrentDPayne – Sorry, Cubs fans.)

 

3. People Can’t Look Away From Car CrashesCar Crash

Have you ever been driving down the highway when all of a sudden there’s a HUGE backup? When you finally get farther ahead, you see that it’s because of a car crash that actually isn’t blocking traffic at all. People are just slowing down to look at it. Roland Maiuro, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, says that it may come from morbid curiosity. “The accident provides a close encounter without yourself being directly…put at risk.”

The title “11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over” just screams of a voice over car wreck, filled with information that makes voice over sound pretty dang bad. People may think… “What’s all this juicy voice over stuff that we don’t even want our moms to know about? I have to slow down and take a look.” So, the “Don’t” article may have been tugging at your “morbid curiosity strings.”

(photo by AaronParecki)

 

Do you write blog posts or other web content? Do you produce videos or audio? If so, tell me the kinds of titles that have attracted the most attention for you in the comments section below. I would love to hear them.

p.s. This kind of information could be HUGE in turning your powerful content into super clickable material. This kind of psychological insight may also be very powerful for advertisers and marketers looking to gain an edge with their projects.

In fact, I’ve seen some clever writers do a pretty awesome job using these kinds of insights in scripts I have voiced before.

 

Good luck creating super clickable titles for your upcoming online content!

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Posted in Marketing and Voice Over, Psychology and Voice Over, Social Media Marketing Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Reasons Why The Brain Thinks Women Should Voice Movie Trailers

 

TWomen Voice Movie Trailershe role of female voice actors in promos and movie trailers is one of the most common issues floating around today in the voice over industry (and has been for years).

 

The conversation continued after the release of “In A World”, a critically-acclaimed film written, directed, and produced by Lake Bell and starring Lake Bell. (That sounds exhausting…)

 

In A World

 

Lake Bell (pictured above) wrote, directed, and starred in the movie which centers around a female voice actor trying to break into the world of movie trailer voice overs, a part of the voice over industry dominated by male voice actors for decades…both in the movie and in real life.

(I saw it and loved it.)

Here’s the trailer:

 

 

Men dominate the movie trailer voice over market.Heather Costa - Voice Actor

 

Heather Costa (pictured with the flower), a female voice actor and a Voxy Lady (explained later), wrote a really nice review of the movie that you can read here and referenced an interesting article on the Time Magazine website about women in voice overs called “Vocal Opposition: Women Want Work Doing Movie-Trailer Voiceovers.” In the article, Lisa Biggs (pictured in her “mug shot”), a female voice actor and founder of Voxy Ladies (a group representing many talented female voice actors) talks about the disparity between men and women in voice overs, a ratio that she thinks is close to 65 percent men and 35 percent women…on a good day. She addresses her hopes for what will happen to that disparity as a result of Lake Bell’s movie:

Lisa Biggs - Voice Actor

“She (Lisa) hopes that the movie might help change the status quo, shifting a balance that’s already on its way. Outside of the U.S. women are gaining in promo work – one of the Voxy Ladies (Diane Merritt) is the voice of the WB network in India and Pakistan.”

Later on, the author talks about Jennifer Knight’s (voice actor with the Voxy Ladies and pictured on a sunny day) ideas Jennifer Knight - Voice Actorabout why many companies choose male voices over female ones:

“Knight points to the many studies showing the social advantages of a deep voice. At the same time, it’s possible that moviegoers like trailers with male voices because they’re used to trailers with male voices, a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma—and one that’s amplified, Knight says, by studios’ reliance on focus groups. ‘Focus groups aren’t asking for change,’ she says, ‘but we’re not giving them anything to ask for.'”

 

 

So, are male voices the best choice for movie trailers, or should more women narrate these promos?

Are Lake Bell, Lisa Biggs, Jennifer Knight, and other female voice actors really onto something?

 

The human brain’s natural tendencies seem to think that we need to use more female voice actors for more trailers, and here’s why:

 

1. Women’s Voices Are Sticky In Men’s Brains.Sticky Note

Yea, yea… men never listen to women. But seriously, women get to us men more than we think. The female voice triggers a much more complex reaction in the brain for men than the male voice. According to a study by psychiatrist Michael Hunter, “women’s voices stimulate an area of the brain [in men] used for processing complex sounds, like music.” Whereas “male voices activate the “mind’s eye,” a region of the brain used for conjuring imagery.” Dr. Hunter thinks this could mean that a woman’s voice could communicate more information into a single sentence when communicating with a man than a man’s voice could (Epstein).

The Brain’s Movie Trailer Message: This all relates to the target market of a movie trailer or promo. If the trailer is targeting adult men, and the trailer producer is really trying to get a message across through the voice over, it would make sense to use a female voice instead of a male voice. This way, the message may stick more effectively in male brains.

 

2. We Are Born To Prefer Female Voices.Mom and Baby Red Panda

According to a study by Barbara S. Kisilevsky, PhD, the heart rate of a fetus increases in response to a mother’s voice and decreases in the presence of a stranger (Kisilevsky). The brain knows what the brain knows. Most of us are born to prefer the voice of our mother.

The Brain’s Movie Trailer Message: When movie trailer producers are trying to create a likable, approachable or “familiar” trailer for children, for example, they may want to use female voices, because they sound much more like the viewers’ mothers than the fathers. This may draw in the children based on their own natural instincts to listen up when the mom is talking.

(photo by RedPandasRule)

 

3. Men Remember Higher Pitched Female Voices Better…Maybe.

According to a study published in Memory & Cognition, women remember objects much better when they are spoken by a lower pitched male voice versus a higher pitched male voice. The scientists claimed that this was an evolutionary adaptation, because a lower voice signals higher levels of testosterone which could then signal a more suitable mate (Melina). It would then be advantageous to pay close attention. And you know what a more suitable mate means. Bow-chicka-bow-wow… (sorry…)

Yes, this supports the argument for male voices, but what about the same study but with female voices targeted at men instead? I can’t seem to find that study unfortunately, but it seems like a very logical comparison. Wouldn’t logic say that men remember objects better when spoken by higher pitched (more estrogen, better mate) female voices? To me, that makes sense. But again, I couldn’t find a study that talks about this. If you can, please show it to me.

The Brain’s Movie Trailer Message: When companies target trailers to women, it might make sense in some cases to choose a lower pitched male voice because they will remember the trailer better. But when they are targeting men, it may make a lot of sense to use a high pitched female voice, as opposed to male voices or even lower pitched female voices based on this study and the first study I reference above. (Personally, I like mid to lower level female voices, but that’s beside the point.) In an evolutionary context, men generally prefer women with higher voices anyway, so why wouldn’t they remember what they say better, too?

 

4. Familiarity With The Female Voice Could Spark A Big Change.Big Wave

Don LaFontaine is known as the king of voice overs, especially movie trailers. He started a huge movement toward that big, booming male voice found in many movie trailers today. As a movie trailer consumer, I’m used to it and you probably are too. David Pisoni, a professor of psychological and brain sciences and the director of the speech research lab at Indiana University, found that when someone is introduced to a certain voice and gets used to it, he or she is much more likely to remember new words that the speaker says later on (Pisoni).

The Brain’s Movie Trailer Message: This directly relates to Jennifer’s “chicken or the egg” question from above. Yes, we are used to the male voice in movie trailers. Those men do a great job. But if female voices just make more sense for certain audiences based on the other brain findings I talked about above, then why not use the female voices in those situations? Viewers will eventually get familiar with those voices and will then more likely remember what they’re hearing. This kind of study also relates to branding products or services with one specific voice all the time. I talk about that in another blog post from a few months ago found here.

 (photo by mikebaird)

So should women do more movie trailer voice overs?

The brain thinks so and so do I. It would mean more equality in the voice over industry. And seriously, what decent human being doesn’t like more equality? Plus, movie producers want butts in seats so they can make more money. Period. They need to cut through the advertising clutter with their movie trailers to reach viewers on a deeper level to purchase the tickets, rent/buy the movie, and watch it on demand. So why not try to take advantage of voices that could really affect the buying decisions of certain audiences? And men, don’t be scared. The male voice still works great for many kinds of trailers as well. But I’ll cover that another time.

 

Here’s a little taste of what a female voice actor sounds like in a movie trailer. (I like it.):

 

 

Do you think female voice actors should voice more movie trailers? Do you think people actually prefer male voices, or are they just used to them? Please answer in the comments sections below.

 

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog!

 

 

Buechler, Mark. “Remembering Voices.” Office of Research and the Indiana University Graduate School. Volume XVII, Number 1, April 1994

Effects of Experience on Fetal Voice Recognition. Psychological Science. May. 2003. 14: 220-224.

Epstein, David. “Men Hear Women’s Melodies.” Discover Magazine. N.p., 22 Nov. 2005. Web.

Melina, Remy. “Deep Male Voices Most Memorable to Women.” LiveScience.com. N.p., 21 Sept. 2011. Web.

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