Your Voice – The Human Connection

By Tim Keenan and Mike Laponis

Every one of us has an imprinted memory from our youth of an unusual or significant VOICE – either a voice talent or on camera actor, or even a singer or music group. That voice or collection of voices resonated with us somehow and planted those memories.

In today’s new norm of separation, your VOICE has the ability to bridge the gap and may, for quite a while, be able to professionally replace the connection of the handshake or the hug. In these times of physical distancing, our voice already has an increased importance with staying closely connected to family, friends, business associates, clients, and potential clients.

The intimacy that the human voice conveys has tremendous power and impact, that is now even more important in business communication. Communication professionals and content creators will need to tap into the skills you’ve developed in abundance moving forward.

The business world has already seen a tremendous surge in targeted consumer and business podcasting as well as distance learning. Sales of Audiobooks are booming right now. And the trend toward creating pre-produced educational content, instead of using live instructors in a group setting, will also expand for business and education over the next year in order to avoid the impact of the current COVID19 contagion.

Voice professionals will be in more demand as we move forward. The best part of this is that each of us has our own unique voice and sound. And it communicates so much. Not with just the actual vocabulary, but intonation, pitch, attitude…emotion. Your voice says so much. It conveys so many emotions. It creates a common bond…a human connection.


Is there some science that back all this up? You bet.

There are studies that show babies recognize their Mom’s voice even from inside the womb. Even that early in life, we can already distinguish who is speaking. These sounds stir emotions, quicken heartbeats, create bonds – all by the sound of one’s voice. The connections are real. It’s all a part of a bond, that even with physical distance, your voice maintains that human connection.

The human voice can even create emotions without really saying any words. Such a range! Or the very same words you say can vary in meaning by the emotion expressed. All with your voice. The human voice creates emotions.

In this article there is a wonderful interactive map, that when activated you hear different emotions communicated through vocal sounds. By hovering your mouse over the particular emotion, you hear vocalized sounds that convey particular emotions. It is incredible! Especially as you move from emotion to emotion and the parts in between. You hear it morph into another emotion.


You have to try it! . This clearly demonstrates the ability and range of human sound.  Our vocal chords convey meaning through the sounds we are able to make. This is the amazing ability to CONNECT. It is why the voice is so powerful in reaching and connecting with others. The human connection. We convey meaning, and express emotion with our voice.

It’s up to you to tap into all that your voice can convey to deliver a message with impact and warmth and honesty. Now is the time to be ready to use all your tools and share your gifts in order to help the business world communicate and CONNECT to their employees and customers like never before.


Mike Laponis is a Southern California based Voiceover Talent, and Audio Producer. He is currently a Professor of Communications at the University of La Verne. His website is

Tim Keenan is the owner of Creative Media Recording, a full service, Southern California audio production company serving independent producers, corporations and ad agencies. At Creative Media is the senior audio engineer, casting director and an active voice talent.

CMR Produces The Silent Garden Audiobook

The team at Creative Media Recording completed production on two unique audiobooks at the end of 2016 that became available on in late Spring 2017. The Silent Garden / El Jardin Silencioso (in English & Spanish) by Paul W. Ogden and David H. Smith were developed for parents, educators and families to provide thorough guidance on the ins and outs of raising a deaf child. The authors are both noted university professors of Deaf Education who are deaf themselves.

In this edition of each book the two of them share their unique understanding of growing up and thriving in a hearing world. The Silent Garden help parents understand that all deaf children have the potential to lead rich, productive, and exciting lives.

The audio for the books was recorded in the CMR studios in Cypress over a several month period and they were narrated by professional Orange County voice talents Dave Sampson (English) and Paty Corcoran (Spanish).

With this launch, Creative Media is proud to have produced the very first audiobooks for the Gallaudet University Press, a publisher that specializes in providing an extensive knowledge base for and about deaf and hard of hearing people. It is affiliated with Gallaudet University. Here are links to the audiobooks with audio samples from each language:

ENGLISH version:

SPANISH version:

Keeping Clients Coming Back for More

We recently had the opportunity to record an audio interview with a business consultant for an ongoing business training series. The consultant was not discussing the “media” business, but his words really resonated with me. Among the many insights he reminded me of was that “people buy from people they like and trust.” This is so true. You will probably only take your car to an auto mechanic you trust and get to know. You tend to eat at the places that treat you right time after time, and so forth.

This is true for OUR businesses as well.

Here at Creative Media, if any of our vendors or freelancers are rude to the team or to a client, we just don’t bother to bring them back again. We love what we do. That’s why we do it! But to continue loving our work, the experience has to be upbeat and enjoyable. I’m planning to put these ideas to work.

If our goal is to grow our businesses we need to BE that “trusted source” and “trusted advisor.” We need to create a “spirit of hospitality” in our day-to-day work habits even if we only deal with clients on-line or on the phone and/or provide a service from a home studio or off site facility.

How do we do that? The visiting consultant suggested that we “fall in love with our customers.” He was speaking figuratively, of course. And working hard to find out what we can do for our clients includes goes above and beyond. It helps to just create a positive atmosphere and not push too hard. Sometimes this is difficult, as I well know.

Blog after blog suggests that our best sources of new work are actually our existing clients. My business has thrived because of the relationships we’ve built over the years and the repeat business that continues to bring. Despite the tremendous changes in technology and they way we do business, some producer clients have been working with us for over 30 years. But building and maintaining those relationships takes work. And the end work product needs to be good, too.

We record professional voice talent a lot here. The best voice talents we’ve worked with at our studio over the years were the ones who came to a session with a smile on and were upbeat throughout despite the challenges of the script or the session. They also need the talent and skills in order to be hired again, but having a positive attitude really helps. Everyone wants to work with upbeat, positive people – and with voiceover especially – that attitude will show through in your voice.

We recently watched the documentary “The Wrecking Crew” about the freelance backing musicians who recorded the music on numerous hits of the 60’s & 70’s for groups like the Mamas & the Papas, the Beach Boys, the Righteous Brothers, Frank Sinatra and the list goes on. Some went on to achieve musical success on their own like 60’s session guitarist Glen Campbell.

This small group of about 30 L.A. based musicians kept working on hit after hit, year after year for over a decade because they were good. But it was more than that. The freelance music folks who got hired had to have a positive attitude to be a continuous part of the team. Wrecking Crew member and noted drummer Hal Blaine summed it up in the documentary when he said, “if you smile, you stay around for awhile: if you pout, you’re out.”

For some this is a culture shift, for others it is just a reminder. But at the very least it is food for thought.

Small Space Syndrome by Tim Keenan

A passing comment in an email from a client the other day got my wheels spinning. I’ve noticed this phenomenon, but was never able to put my finger on the issue so well. The client shared that a batch of recent e-Learning auditions we sent him sounded “soft” – as if the narrators we’re reading a book aloud in a very quiet room. In other words, there was no energy, no engagement with the potential listener.

Now, I know VO pros are always encouraged to think of the microphone as a person’s “ear” and be aware of the power of the intimacy of their voice when speaking softly. But this client was hoping to hear more energy and enthusiasm, yet still have the read be conversational.

It came to me that I had noticed this same phenomenon myself when working with voices from their home studios. I have have had to push the talent to get a little more zest.

The one thing that just may be holding them back in their delivery could be the SIZE of the person’s recording space. I’m going to call it “small space syndrome.

Human’s, by nature, will tend to speak softly when they enter a closet sized room because they know they don’t have to speak-up to be heard. A small VO booth may be having that same subliminal effect on narrators. Even a space carved off a larger room using acoustic curtains can have a dampening effect on a performance.

I know I’m spoiled. I own a professional studio with a nice, roomy VO booth that we designed from the ground up. It is, on average, 9’ x 16’ with enough room for three voice talent at a time comfortably. It’s big enough to feel like a room. When you perform in our VO booth you can speak in normal, bold tones with no hesitation.

So how do you overcome small space syndrome? Well, just being aware and conscious of it is a good step one. Listen to your auditions back in another room or on a different computer and see if you gave it enough energy. Part of your prep might be to imagine yourself in a larger room. Forget that it is just you and the microphone. Down the road you might consider an expansion of your space. Adding a window might give you a different perspective, too. Something to think about.

Who knows, knowing this just might give you that little edge in your next voiceover audition.