5 Surprising Lessons to Improve Your Teaching

I can still hardly believe I get paid to play.

My passion for this job started with creating voice-overs, but my fondness for coaching and teaching voice-over workshops has increased exponentially. As I have grown in these experiences I hope that my students have noticed the development of their skills. The inspiration and collaboration that happens when teaching is fascinating.

As I look back at my VO 101 workshops so far, I observed a few surprises. I thought they were so neat that I should share a couple with you. Below you will find my top 5 lessons I took away from my students. Perhaps one or two will resonate with you.

Connected Storytelling is truly at the heart of voice-overs.

It was fascinating to watch the students read a piece of copy and create an entire improv scene around their interpretation of the copy.

One student in particular comes to mind- I’ll call him David. David was reading a spot for Delta airlines. He took the perspective of life being too short and to grasp for the time to travel. David then did an improvised monologue talking to his Mother about why she deserved to fly places.

When he dropped that exercise and dove into his copy the read came to life. Like I had tears in my eyes- over flying Delta. Connected – personalized storytelling- is where it’s at my friends.

Physicality- makes or breaks a set.

You would think this concept is obvious, but some students have to be taught that how one holds themselves sets the tone of the room and informs the audience how to react to the read. It was amazing to see the difference in performances between a student going behind the mic with their arms crossed or hands in their pockets versus a student who would get behind the mic and completely own the act.

It was like night and day. I’ve ultimately concluded that students who allowed their body to influence their reads created a more colorful and engaging performance.

“Can Do” Attitude- It’s the only option.

Like life, the attitude in which you approach copy is going to affect, not just your delivery, but also the life cycle of your career. Tiffany a tall, attractive, musical theater actress would get behind the mic with a sense of adventure in her eye. She executed each performance, no matter how difficult, with such zeal and enthusiasm and this is what made her such an amazing student. While every read she delivered may not have been a “home run” her motivation kept her in the game.

I was excited to get a recent email that she got a call back for a major national brand.

One Size Does Not Fit All VOs- Every student brings their own unique set of personal experiences to the microphone- there is no one way to teach all students.

I’ve learned that it’s not just about teaching skills, but also managing different personalities. It’s a fun task to try and figure out different ways to communicate the same information, and it is an incredibly rewarding feeling when something I say finally clicks with a student.

Ultimately, I believe my job as a teacher is to offer an array of guidance and advice, but also allow them the freedom to facilitate their own learning and discover what feels right to them.

Smiling is truly contagious – Smiling has the power to change everything.

It gives you the ability to influence the ambiance of the room, the power to control your nerves, and the dexterity to effortlessly execute flawless performances. Believe it or not, if you listen closely you can actually hear the difference between someone smiling and not smiling in a VO. Keep it happy with smiles. Smiles not only warm up a read but the spirit. They lighten the nerves and are truly contagious.

For more lessons, and other awesome insights like the ones above, click on my Twitter or Facebook. By staying plugged in with me on social media you won’t miss a beat regarding updates on my blog or fun events that I’m attending, like this one. I would also love to hear from you! Feel free to give me a shout out about lessons you’ve learned. I am just a tweet away.

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