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How to Impress Under Pressure

Voice coach Caroline Goyder gives us some performance tips

Caroline GoyderNow you’ve polished off those Easter eggs, it’s time to hop back into the vocal booth. So, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Make or break. The big live online audition or a meeting in person that matters.  Even as you walk through the door you feel your heart rate rise. And the big question is can you show yourself off to your best advantage when it matters?

It’s not easy. In life, as in dating we all know that desperate is a big no-no. The question is how you keep your cool even when all you want to do is say, wide-eyed and beaming “PICK ME!!!!”. Being too desperate for the approval of others cuts off our spontaneity. We lose our edge. It’s crucial to find your confidence. So how do you do it?

What you need in your toolkit in these tricky selling-yourself-spotlight moments, is new way of looking at the situation. Most A list actors learn this lesson when, as they reach the A list, they find themselves sitting alongside casting directors to cast their own movies. Suddenly they realise that the other side of the table is just as scary too. They’re worried about getting it wrong. Choose the wrong person for a big job – and you have a lot of explaining to do. So, rather than obsessing about whether they like you or not “camera in”, it helps to turn your focus “camera out” and think about the people making the decision. Not am I interesting? But am I interested in them? As the actor Gemma Jones puts it, “It takes the spotlight off you. Go in and find out – do you want to work with them? It makes you more open, you can listen, you’re more responsive”.Rufus Sewell

Then take your time. Don’t let nerves make you gabble. The actor Rufus Sewell told me that it took him years to learn that it wasn’t his responsibility to fill a pause. Let them be the hosts and you the guest, it can even help to say, “thankyou for inviting me in”. If a pause comes, relax, breathe, don’t talk yourself as a job. Find a quiet inner ease and wait to see what happens next.

In others words, act as if you are relaxed. A little trick that can help with this was taught to Hayley Atwell at RADA. Think, “I’m beautiful, someone loves me, I have a secret”. It sounds cheesy but gives you a quiet ease, and a glow that others will notice.

Keep it in the back of your mind, and notice how it allows you to shine as a voiceover artist.

Caroline Goyder is the author of Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority (Ebury) and The Star Qualities (Macmillan). You can find her at @carolinegoyder. Watch her TEDx talk on The Surprising Secret to Speaking with Confidence here.


Welcome to the VoicesUS blog. Here we explore all facets of the amazing world that is the voiceover industry. We feature guest authors on topics such as how to get started, what equipment is best for your recordings, how to find clients and how to best show off your skills on VoicesUS. To join our family of North American voiceover artists please click here. Post a free casting call to find the perfect voice for your project, click herewe’re ready to help!