The Makings of a Great Leader!

Leaders are everywhere around us, and in many ways they are heroes. They may not be able to move faster than a speeding bullet or lift trucks with one arm, but they do change the world. They make a difference, they influence lives and they create history. They operate in every medium of human life – business, sports, entertainment, politics and especially daily life. History shows us voluminous records of great leaders like Socrates and Alexander the Great, and more recently, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa who all left their indistinguishable marks on this world. As diverse as they were, they all had within them an intrinsic ability to rise above their circumstances, overcome their limitations, silence the critics and follow their true calling and change it into reality.

Leadership skills have been the subject of intense focus and study for many decades now. Many people say that leaders are born and not made, while leadership itself is considered both and art and science. But this is a common misconception because while leaders have certain unique personality traits or charisma that cannot be impersonated, they all do have certain universally recognizable qualities to them, that can be studied, practiced and inculcated. In this article we will look at a few such traits:

  • Character

Everything begins with character. A leader could be talented in multiple areas but will be absolutely useless if he or she doesn’t have a strong character. ‘Character’ is a loaded term and encompasses several aspects such as – Honesty, Integrity and Humility. A leader’s character is crucial as it impacts every other aspect of his leadership and relationship skills.

  • Vision

A leader without vision is like a ship without sails. A leader must intuitively know exactly what he or she wants to accomplish, why they want to accomplish it and how they’re going to go about accomplishing the same. As the driving force behind a company, project or cause, the leader must have a strong sense of vision and purpose that inspires the entire team.

  • Communication

Having the right vision is one thing but being able to communicate that effectively to your peers and colleagues is another crucial element entirely. Efficient communication filtering down from the leader is vital if everybody needs to be on the same page. The responsibility of this falls squarely on the leader’s shoulders. Sometimes important details can get lost in the intricacies of the vision and these need to be carefully laid out in a simple and clear manner for ease of comprehension.

  • Focus

Tantamount to a leader’s efficiency is his ability to execute his visions with an unbroken, determined focus. Often there are numerous aspects that get in the way or be a distraction to the end goal. And just as often it is necessary for the leader to say ‘no’ in order to be able to focus and say ‘yes’ to the crucial, more relevant details. The ability to focus comes into play especially when times are tough and chaotic and the ability to focus during troubled times is what sets a leader apart.

  • Passion

While the leader is the driving force for the project, leaders need to be self-motivated and need their own ‘fuel’ and passion to keep going. It is this passion that is ultimately crucial to the whole project. Often there will be challenging times or setbacks and it is during these times that the leader’s passion will serve as a momentum. Naturally the leader’s passion will filter down to the team, inspiring them with his or her optimism and zeal. Only if the leader is passionate will the team feel the weight and energy of that passion.

Leadership Training is crucial to developing the next generation of leaders in companies around the world. Businesses are beginning to understand the significance of invaluable traits that a person needs to have developed in order to become an efficient leader.

How to Come Up With a Great Tagline Or Slogan

My clients are always asking how I can up with great slogans. The secret is very simple, have a clear idea of who your key market is and what they want. That’s the ground of being for your business, your reason for existing.

Do Your Homework

Once you know exactly who and how you serve them, the slogan almost writes itself. Remember I said almost, next you have to sit down and write about hundred slogans. Try not to judge or fix any of them as you are writing them down, just get as many written down as possible.

Walk Away

Wait at least 24 hours and look at them again (with fresh eyes). Now, pick out the ones that really sound good. The ones that convey the main benefit of using your product or service. And also the extra quality I call rhythm (it sounds good to the ear). Most good slogans are very short, because you want to quickly get the readers attention. And its easier to remember when its very short.

The Art Is In The Details

At this point I’ll settle on about half a dozen slogans to start improving on. Improving a slogan involves fine tuning it, adding a word or even a letter here and there. Or you may need to subtract a word or a letter. Remember a good slogan can help you get a great deal of customers so take some time developing it.

Logo VS Slogan

Your logo, in my opinion is not as important as the slogan. A picture is not worth a thousand words. People will remember and act on a good slogan, but a logo takes time to really make an impression. But I see so many businesses who have nice logos without slogans.

Test, Test, Test

The next step is to take your new slogan out for a ride, show it to a few people and get some feedback. Compare it to the competition and get a feel for how the market will react to it. After doing all this work on it you’ll know when you’ve hit on the right slogan, something just clicks.

Creating a good slogan is hard work, but it’s also fun. A good slogan can last for decades and help make a business very successful. Just remember to use it everywhere, on your logo, website, letterhead and business cards.

Find a Great Career As a Print Broker

Good print brokers are more important than ever in the printing industry. Although it may seem as if companies have focused entirely on their web presence, e-mail, and online marketing, printed materials are still critical to the success of any business. Whether they are ordering business cards, fliers, brochures, or pamphlets, successful marketers know that professional print material can add a unique touch to your information and branding. That’s where a knowledgeable, reliable print broker comes into the picture.

An organization may choose to deal directly with a printer for these jobs; however, a printing broker effectively uses their knowledge base, sales and marketing skills in order to produce the printed material in a cost effective way. The broker makes a profit by marking up the printers costs. Many brokers open their own companies after years in the printing business, as industry knowledge is crucial to the individual’s expertise. If you have decided to work in the wholesale printing field, there are several steps you must take.

Find Your Niche

The wholesale printing industry is huge, so you may want to find an area of specialization for your brokerage. You may decide to print business cards, labels, envelopes, letterhead, and other office supplies that are used by almost any company. You may even want to expand into brokering printed packaging for company’s products in order to round out your business offerings.

Build Your Printer List

A broker soon learns that depending on a single company for printing may be a bad business choice. Find companies in your area with good reputations for service, quality, and price. Ask to see work samples of the products you will need, in addition to paper and print samples. Ask for lists of their equipment and find out how their services are different from their competitors. Lead times are also important for any job. Once you have contacted several printers, compare their prices and estimated lead times to find several printers with which you will work. Working with the best, more reliable companies will help your customer list continue to grow, and that’s something no broker can do without.

Find Your Clients

Do you have some potential clients in mind? It’s always a good idea to start a brokerage if you have a few people you can rely upon to help you get started. Even if they’re a family member, their work can be added to your portfolio. There are several steps you should take for any client. When visiting a potential customer, you must learn about their business needs and what they will expect of your company. Find out the pros and cons of their current print suppliers. The best way to find a new client is to find a company that is unhappy with their current printing suppliers. Let’s say that Perky Printers, Inc. is charging too much for a company’s corporate brochures, but you know that your source can provide an equal or better product for a lower price. This gives you the information and ability to solve the customer’s problem, and that’s what a printing broker’s job is all about. People who work in this profession aren’t just looking to make money; they really want to help people get the best products their money can buy!

Keep Track of Your Production

Another important trait to a print broker is the willingness to track your product. If you want to just drop off an order and forget about it until the day it’s due, this may not be the field for you. Once you receive a company’s order, choose your wholesale printing company to fulfill the order. Be sure to monitor the job’s progress using the printer’s projected deadline. If you check periodically on your job, you can alert the customer if any issues or delays occur. Attention to detail is the hallmark of a great broker.

Deliver Quality, Timely Products

Print brokers go into every job with the knowledge that they were probably given the contract because the company was unhappy with their former printing company. You don’t want to be thought of as “That Company,” so make sure your products is up to their expectations and delivered on time. To be successful in the printing broker business, you must be reliable, above all else.

Scout New Suppliers

You must be willing to go out and find new suppliers on a regular basis. Printing technologies, capabilities, and requirements are constantly changing, which means you should constantly explore new printing suppliers. Keep up with a few industry trade journals and take the time to visit some trade shows. If you are looking for new suppliers or specialty producers, conduct some online research to find the companies that fit all your printing needs. New businesses are always popping up, and a printing broker needs to take advantage of the best of the best.

Scout New Business

A broker in the printing industry must excel at recruiting new clients, so that means you must be ready for sales plans and cold calling. Practice your sales technique on friends and family members, and take their constructive criticism in order to perfect your spiel.

Once your sales have improved, you’ll be able to delegate some of the hard work. You will hopefully be able to hire an assistant who can answer phones, monitor your jobs, prepare quotes, and cover customer service. Your long-term success depends on continuously finding new clients and making contacts to help your company grow and thrive.

When you decide to start your own print a brokerage business, you are dedicating yourself to finding your customers great deals on quality products. If you are reliable, love sales, and have great communication skills, you can be a success story in the wholesale printing industry.

Great Benefits Of Using A Letterhead

All organizations and companies often use stationery sets, which include business cards, letterheads and envelopes. While things such as envelope design might be important, it is essential to have abusiness letterhead. All kinds of communication from a legal organization or institution cannot be taken as official without a letterhead. Since this element is so important, you must put careful thought into its design and layout.

Numerous designs are available but you should pick one that not only can serve the legal purpose but also appeals to the eyes. You might also have different designs for different letters for different officials in the organization such as for the CEO, business manager, treasurer or head of sales.

What it consists of

Mainly, business letterheads consist of a logo, telephone number and a return address. Some may also include a backdrop in different colors. The design of the letterhead will vary depending with the company or purpose of the letter. For instance, it is best to have a unique letterhead for each promotional letter you write. If you are organizing a fund-raising event, the campaign letter should have a simple letterhead with a simple black and white design instead of a gothic, color-embossed one that might appears fancy.

Benefits of a letterhead

· Increases credibility – If your letterhead contains the right information about your business or company, it will aid you in creating a sense of trustworthiness and reliability. In other words, you are letting your clients or customers know that your company is real and they can contact you any time they want. Clients are more inclined to trust you if you have an appealing letterhead.

· Increases brand awareness – It is important for your letterhead to have the name of your company and contact information. This will make your company more popular since your customers will immediately recognize your business when they see the letterhead icon. This helps to market the company and increase profits. This is another fine way of making your company popular as well as successful.

· Portrays the company as professional – When you use a letterhead, it offers a corporate view of your business or company. It is important to have the design of your letterhead done professionally. This gives the readers a sense that you are not an ordinary company. In addition, investing good quality materials on your clients makes them feel valued and they will in turn invest in your company.

A Great Cover Letter Is Your Escort to More Job Interviews

Creating a compelling cover letter is a vital step in the job application process. Your letter should have a professional, yet naturally flowing conversational tone. Never underestimate the power of a cover letter to make or break your submission to a particular company, which is assessing your fitness as a candidate. Call it a resume cover letter; it’s nearly as important as the resume itself. The cover letter can create either a favorable or sloppy first impression-it’s up to you. Crisp, compelling and persuasive prose can make an enormous difference. Do you know what a cover letter looks like? If you can’t do it right, then you should consider hiring a professional resume writer and professional cover letter writer to do it for you.

The functions of a cover letter are as follows:

• To not only introduce yourself to a potential employer, and reveal appealing aspects of your personality, but to sell yourself, just as if you were a product: You, Inc.

• Set you apart from other applying for this job. If your letter is impressive enough, it may be placed in the “to call first” pile.

• Demonstrate your effectiveness as a corporate communicator, which is an important skill to employers

• Explain why you are interested in a particular job.

• Complement your resume by intriguing the reader sufficiently to continue the process by perusing your resume.

• Display your intellectual prowess

• Demonstrate your knowledge of the company

While time consuming, it is also absolutely necessary to write a unique cover letter to each company. You should learn enough about the product or service, internal challenges, values and goals to be able to tailor each letter accordingly.

Here are some methods that wise job applicants use to turbo charge their cover letters:

• Make the appearance of your letter clean and simple. Do not right justify margins or make the letter look mass produced.

• Keep it to one page.

• Address your letter to a specific person, either the person mentioned in an ad, or the person that your research has demonstrated might make the hiring decision.

• Always write an employer-centric letter, concentrating on how you can meet a need, solve a problem and/or explain why you are the best candidate to join the corporate team. In other words, how can you be of service to them?

• Use your first paragraph to state the job that you are seeking, and how you found out about it. If someone within the company referred you, this is the place to give their name.

• Express an interest in the company’s product, service and/or a specific project currently in the works.

• Consciously match your job experience, positive personality facets and transferable skills with those that the company is seeking. This step may require information that was not in the job announcement or want ad.

• Sketch any information in intriguing outline form-you want to whet the recipient’s appetite to learn more by studying your resume.

• In the last paragraph of your perfect cover letter, directly ask for an interview to discuss the position further. Either include your contact information in the last paragraph, or in a block with your name and title. Thank the recipient for taking the time to consider your letter and resume.

5 Great Tips to Effective Letter Writing

Many people might wonder the need for letter writing in a world dominated by emails. If you wish to streamline your communication, never ignore the power of a well constructed letter. An email cannot achieve the impact that a well written letter can generate. Whether it is business, sales, cover or personal letter, you can master it by learning some simple tips.

1. The content of a letter should be planned well. To streamline your communication, make a draft of your letter. This will help in communicating effectively. Make sure that all the points have been detailed and check your letter for readability. Rephrase those sentences that can be misunderstood. Check the spelling, especially, the name of the receiver. Another key aspect is the consistency in the spelling of names. To be on the safer side, it is always wise to prepare a draft of business, sales and cover letters.

2. Use of language. For business letters, always use formal language. Sales letters need to attract potential customers. So they can be informal with catchy headlines. But when the sales letter talks about guarantee, delivery and other core issues, use a formal tone. Cover letters should always be written in formal language. Maximum flexibility with language can be shown in a personal letter. Depending upon your relationship, you can choose a formal or informal language. To streamline your communication, you should learn the art of selecting the appropriate tone for your letter.

3. Your letter might be intended for several people. This does not mean that it should not have a personal touch. Always write a business or sales letter like writing to a single person. A personal touch in your sales letter or newsletter will make the reader feel more comfortable. The reader should never feel like reading a brochure. The letter should have the effect of a personal conversation.

4. One of the best methods to streamline your communication is to make effective use of all modern day writing techniques. Use headlines to indicate the subject matter. Make use of bullets to detail important points. Use simple language. If a scientific term is used explain it in parentheses. You can make use of italics, bolding and underling in the letter. You can also create a template for your letter.

5. Brevity. Today, people do not have time to spend on reading long letters. Make your point in least number of words. Never deviate from the core subject. Unnecessary deviations from the subject can do more harm than good. Sometimes the reader might totally ignore the letter.

Letters are an important tool of communication. Remember, they can also become documental evidences. Your success in the modern day world depends on how effectively you are able to streamline your communication.

How to Make a Great Living Working Mainly From Home As a Professional Voice Actor

The internet has completely changed the fortunes of professional voiceovers – for the better. These days, we can forget driving round radio stations and recording studios in the desperate hope of finding the odd suitable advert script in the production department’s “in-tray” to record; dismiss to the past a day lost travelling to the city to audition for a single line of a TV advert voiceover where you rarely hear back. Your client base can now be based in an area bigger than your region or even your country. In fact, there are clients all round the world who may feel your voice is perfect for their projects.

You don’t need to physically meet the clients, or even use their recording studios. You can record in your own “home studio” and send them broadcast quality audio files via a file transfer service such as Sometimes clients will want to direct you over your headphones while you record the script, using Skype, ipDTL, ISDN, or one of many other systems available that are quite inexpensive and reliant on just a decent internet connection. But usually, you’re left on your own to record the script sent to you with instructions as to timing, voice style, pauses etc., then you’re expected to edit out your mistakes, optimise the levels and to then simply send the file (s) in the technical format requested. You then wait for any retakes required, then you can send in your invoice; job done.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of full time “staff” jobs in my time working for both the BBC and ITV as producer, director, and I even ran a TV channel once. (Granada Men and Motors if you’re interested, and I gave Richard Hammond his first TV job for my sins!) But for the last 10 years, I have been a full-time freelance voiceover, and apart from a handful of trips to London studios each month, I work from my little studio at home and have never earned so much money in my life, for doing such little “work”. I’m totally independent and I don’t have an agent, so regularly I have to work on the “Search Engine Optimisation ” of my websites, and email or call potential new customers and expand my client base, but if you don’t want to do that, then choose the agent route. They’ll do all this for a % of your fee. Both ways are valid. It’s just that I like to be in full control of my success, but, hey, we’re all different.

There are so many uses for voiceovers, and there is honestly plenty of work out there for voice styles of all types and ages. As well as the obvious TV and radio commercials, the easy low hanging fruit comes from recording corporate promo videos or museum narrations. They may be deadly boring to record, and you need to look up the odd Polish word or acronym, but it’s quite an art to sound enthused about a grommet manufacturing plant in Gdansk! Also, there are telephone prompts for various organisations that regularly need renewing, saying things like: “your call IS important to us… !” and so on.

Also, don’t forget awards ceremony voiceovers that are either recorded or you do them live, so you can adlib when a winner doesn’t tip up… or when a winner literally tips up on the edge of the stage. But the real fun to be had is acting in video games. My voice is now on many video games and trailers playing a wide variety of characters. The top-end games still insist on the voice actors being physically in the studio, and that’s after a rigorous auditioning process.

But for every high profile game, there are hundreds of projects lower down in the pecking order, that still pay decent money and once you record a few samples of your character(s), the games studio just ask you do 3 takes of each line and you just send them one big wav file for them to select the best takes and chop up into smaller files for the coding. It really is quite easy money, as many of the lower end games feature stereotypical character voices and accents that are not hard to manage to any actor worth their salt, and the recording can be much fun to do, especially if you have to do a barrel load of “non-vocal” takes of random mumbling or “dying” sounds and fight grunts.

You won’t just get clients from English-speaking countries. English is an international language, and every country has companies and organisations where videos would need an English soundtrack version as well as one recorded in the home language. You may just get sent a Word or PDF document and asked to record it in the style of one of your showreels. Or you may need to record the English version in the style of a video they provide to you with the original language. Don’t worry if you don’t speak the original language, you’ll be able to get the timing and mood required from watching this, and that’s all you need.

In the week of writing, I’ve recorded such sessions from Germany, Spain, Denmark, Italy and UAE. You’ll get a link to view the “foreign” language version on Vimeo or YouTube, to ascertain the timings and the style of the VO. Then you’ll get a script which should sync approximately to the non-English version. If you can offer a full syncing service as well, where you’d chop up your VO on a video timeline to exactly match the non-English paragraphs, fine, but usually they do this detailed editing at their end.

It is perfectly possible to create a good business over about 6- 12 months from scratch. Life is very flexible, and you’d look to your email “in-box” for your daily income. You’d build up your client base to an extent that statistically you KNOW that each morning there’ll be a good day’s work in the offing, even if you have closed off all jobs the night before. The best thing about being a VO is the variety. Doing silly voices, characters for video games, audio books and training video scripts where you learn so much, plus commercials where every split-second counts, means no two days or indeed jobs are the same.

So are you already an actor or actress? Do you already “do” voices? That’s fine. Recording voiceovers is very similar in that you get into a character voice and stay in character. That character may be of a certain age from a certain part of the world with a certain social status, etc. etc. It’s your job to look at the script and think of the character in your head, even down to what they look like and what they would be wearing.

Many of the scripts may not really be characters as such, but “narrator” voices, but even here, you still need to create a type of person that you are playing. If you are given a script for, say, the tourist board of Romania aimed at future visitors, you imagine you are a professor at the University of Bucharest, proud of your country and its history. You have written many books about Romania and enjoy walking and cycling in the forests at weekends. There… have you a picture in your head?

You may have an industrial safety video to provide the voiceover for. So you imagine that you are the head of health and safety who has just taken to hospital a person seriously injured after ignoring the safety rules at the factory. You want to stop others having to go through the same trauma. You now have the passion and the fire in your belly and this will come across in the words that you read.

Yes – you are giving performances. A different one for every script that you are given, but they are still performances, and you need to be able to snap into one of many characters very quickly and sustain the feeling, the voice, the stance, the reason why you are speaking.

Of course, you could attend acting classes to understand all this much more fully, but you need to crack this technique yourself first. If you playback your recordings and it sounds like you are merely reading a script, then you must tackle this problem as soon as possible. Often I am asked to record TV or radio commercials where I need to sound enthusiastic. In real life, I may not care at all about the silly product that is being featured, but I would SOUND like I really genuinely cared!

So how do you learn this technique? Well, it’s all down to the melody of the “song” in the voice, the timing of the words, the words that are emphasised, the little gaps, the breathing, the slight imperfections that make speech sounds natural and not merely read off a script. The best way to “get” this performance technique is to find a recording of a professional experienced voiceover which you admire, ideally with a voice style similar to your own. Then transcribe the voiceover or find the script. Play a few words and pause. Now you read the script yourself – repeat the way the words are said, find the “tune” of the words, the way they go up and down, the pauses, the words that are emphasized – every little nuance. Now play the next section and repeat till the end. Go back to the start and do this again, mimicking the voiceover as closely as you can.

Now forget the recording and YOU read the script again and record yourself. Are you now communicating the energy, passion, the feeling, the character of the original voiceover? If not, try to picture the original voiceover – what would they be dressed in? Would they be holding the product they are enthusing about delivering to a TV camera, or musing out of an open window on a summer’s day? Get the picture.

The idea is that you “get inside the head” of the original voiceover; after all they got the lucrative gig to voice that national commercial and you didn’t. So, you’d copy them as best you can, do this for other voiceovers and actors that you admire and then with the knowledge in your head, and the ability to use “mental pre-sets” to snap into various characters, you then develop a personal style of your own and you’ll get to know your strengths and weaknesses in vocal acting.


Buy the best microphone you can afford – but it needs to be right for your voice. You need to go to a well stocked audio or music shop in a city, try some out in your price range and record your voice using a top of the range “pop” filter hoop on each… essential for every voice artist. Ask for playback through decent HiFi speakers in a quiet room. Don’t just listen through headphones live, that won’t give you any useful feedback to the quality of the microphones you are testing.

So what are you listening for on playback? Well, you need a microphone that picks out all the “nice” harmonics in your voice and diminishes the “bad” elements. I personally use a Neumann U87 and Neumann TLM 103, as they seem to suit my deep bass voice. It gives my voice resonance and authority while keeping top end (treble) clarity. Years ago, when testing microphones, I found Electovoice microphones made my voice muffled for some reason, and AKG ones were thin and lifeless when recording my voice. Yet I know VO people who love these and other microphones, so you have to see what is right for your own voice and the way you use the microphone.

You’ll find USB microphones at really good prices, (like the Rode NT or the Audio Technica AT2020) but I suggest you avoid these. For the best quality, you really need a traditional large condenser microphone with an XLR audio socket, not a USB digital socket. There are boring technical reasons why this is the case, feel free to Google if you really need to know! As a rule of thumb, you’d be looking to spend at least £500 / $650 on a microphone, and you may be lucky and find a cared for used one on the net for a big discount on the new price. In the microphone shop, you’d also buy a good quality pop filter (double filter ones are usually the best) and a quality anglepoise type mike stand so you can position the microphone exactly right, plus a cage or sprung mount for the microphone so it doesn’t pick up vibrations from the desk.

The microphone needs to plug in using a thick quality screened XLR cable into very good quality preamp such as a Focusrite Scarlett or Steinberg UR22 that then plugs into a USB port of a computer. (Note this is not the same as a “USB” microphone plugged in direct; this route just described gives better quality) Aim for total silence in both the microphone and recording chain and also the room or voice booth you are recording in. Unless you want to just record “shouty” hard-sell scripts, there will be occasions where the slightest small bit of interference or hum will ruin what is called the “noise floor” of your recording. Once you have found a quiet room, the walls and ceiling need to be treated with foam acoustic tiles. This has to done to create a “dead” recording zone with no acoustic reflections. Until you can afford professional acoustic tiles, it’s amazing how old duvets on the walls and ceiling plus thick carpet do the trick.

You may not want to record your audio directly on your computer. I don’t, apart from quick demos. I prefer to plug my microphone into a stand-alone solid-state recorder, one of my trusty old Marantz PMD 661 machines. It gives me more flexibility to pop the SD card out to edit the audio on train journeys, and I like the confidence that the stand-alone recorder with its whisper quiet and high-quality pre-amp is doing its job 100% of the time and that no computer programs are interfering.

So, what about the location where you are going to record your voiceovers? At home, ideally, you’d have a big room or even a garage with a professional voice booth built in, but they are very expensive, at least £3,000 / $4,000. These booths are very heavy, and they get delivered in a huge box in a kit form. They are basically a big box that you step inside via a door and there is usually a triple glazed window. Inside will be a desk and chair plus your screen microphone, keyboard and mouse.

If you can’t afford or have the space for a voice booth, you’d probably start with a small room that you’d adapt. Remember you want the nasty noisy computer with its fans OUTSIDE the room you are in, next door with wires and appropriate USB amplifiers leading to your keyboard, mouse and screen in front of your microphone set up. Or if you have a soundproofed cupboard that offers ventilation for the computer, that could work as well. If you can afford it, buy a “Silent PC” or one with SSD memory rather than spinning hard disks that make a pesky whirring noise. The audio output leads also need to come to your amp and loudspeakers and audio meters (ideally sensitive professional PPM meters) in your studio that will have a headphone socket for directed sessions by phone or Skype, or any of the systems like ipDTL that are very high quality “record at their end” set ups.

On the computer, you’ll need audio editing software, (I use Adobe Audition) Skype, Word, PDF reader and that’s about it, apart from the email system that you’ll use to receive jobs.


Then you’ll need a superb website with very good SEO built in. If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a pro who does. It needs to look clean, professional and with lots of voice samples that can be downloaded as mp3 files. As well as a main “greatest hits” showreel, you’ll need showreels for subjects and voice styles, such as “Corporate”, “Training”, “Hard sell”, “Soft sell” etc. Look at my own site if you like for examples of the very many styles you’ll need. ( ) Variety is very important. If you are a client looking to record a medical script and you have showreels from two great quality voices, one is reading a medical script with complex medical terms and one a furniture store commercial, who would you choose? So, yes, do a “Medical showreel”. Good at a “forlorn, arty” sound? Record a showreel. Great at a Santa voice? Go for it.


No, you don’t really need an agent, unless you have a guaranteed excellent hard-working one who wants you and believes in you. For the last couple of years I have earned a healthy full-time income without one, unless you count freelance sites like,, Envato, etc. who take a cut; no, you just need to network. Email production companies, studios, ad agencies, make some calls, audition for everything that’s suitable and soon one great job leads to another and your empire will grow. For me, it was about a year to build up slowly a great client base which is at a size so I know it is statistically realistic to get some good jobs sent each and every day, 7 days a week. You’d create a “rate card” – usually longer scripts are charged more.

Broadcast use is charged more than non-broadcast. In an day, you may be sent a variety of small scripts, and they may be low budget projects, but still add up to $300 / $400 for the day. Other days, as well some small scripts will come some more lucrative projects with broadcast use. Last month I recorded a set of TV commercials for a $250 “session” or recording fee. Then I was contacted to be told they were to be used on air in Australia and was offered a further $2000 for the usage there. Yes, extra money for absolutely no extra work on my part, and I wouldn’t have known if they had been used elsewhere! Such is the crazy world of the voiceover.


The world of media is a fast moving one. Most of the people who will hire you will be production companies who have their own clients they want to look efficient to. So, you need to respond fast to any communication and ideally record speedily too. This is so very, very important. I know for a fact that many of my regular clients use me, not because I am the absolute best voice for the job or even the cheapest, but they KNOW that they will get a fast turnaround so they can add the voiceover to their video and impress their client.

You have got be absolutely dedicated in this. I personally make myself available 06:30 – 22:00 UK time, 7 days a week. No, that’s not working all the time, (in total, we’re talking 6 hours max of actual work) but that’s to catch all the countries working hours, that when you should be checking emails and texts. Ideally you’d be near or in your studio so as soon as an urgent job comes in, you’d fly in front of the microphone, scan the script and instructions and hit record. You’d get it recorded and uploaded right away. If you’re not near your studio, respond right away and give a realistic time when you CAN deliver. Make it sound that you’re in the middle of a big TV commercial session or something, not that you’re collecting the laundry… you get the picture! UNDER promise and OVER deliver, every time. Clients always love voiceovers going the extra mile. For short scripts I often give 3 takes in different styles so they can choose the best, unless they give strict instructions to the contrary.


You’ll get an email from a client who has found your website and likes your samples. If they haven’t given this detail with the script you need to ask them the following:

1) STYLE What voice style do you want… is there a showreel you like?

2) PACE What speed? Does it need to fit into 2m25s for example?

3) CHALLENGING WORDS How do you pronounce certain words or acronyms? Ideally they’d send you an audio file saying challenging words very slowly and also at normal speed. Don’t just rely on, or For non-English words, Google Translate gives you a good idea sometimes if you click the right language, but don’t rely on it! For unusual non-English company names, you may find a video on YouTube that mentioned how to say the word you are looking for.

4) FILE TYPE What file type do they need? WAV? AIF? mp3? What data and bit rate? For example, even though most modern digital recorders capture at 32bit 48KHz, San Francisco’s Voice Bunny insists on files that are WAV but 16 bit and 44.1KHz. ACX or Audible audio books need files that are mp3 files, 192Kb/sec and normalised to -3dB, plus with 0.5 second mute at the head (start).

After you have all the information, you’d record, peaking between “4” and “6” on your calibrated PPM meters or equivalent if you are using VU meters.


You can’t send the raw audio to the client, although some studios insist as they want to deal with waveforms without any processing. At the very least you need to delete your mistakes, after all you’re a professional that doesn’t make mistakes, aren’t you?! Here’s the order I personally process files. I can do this very quickly as I have keyboard presets on Adobe Audition, which saves so much time. (Use ALT + K if you have Audition!)

– Open the waveform

– Chop off the rubbish at the start and end

– Cut out mistakes. A good technique during recording is to leave a 5 second or so gap when you mess up. You won’t be wasting this time, you’d be re-reading the script to ensure you don’t flub, or you can sip some water. When you see the waveform later, you’ll instantly see the gaps that need attention. Don’t listen to people who say you need to play back up to the mistake and “punch in record”, this technique takes too long and is unreliable if you get the timing slightly wrong.

– Deal with “spikes” – these are nasty sounds that show up as high lines on the waveform. They can be treated with an electronic pop filter or if too bad, it may need a retake.

– Add 0.5 second of silence at the start of the file. Add 2 seconds at the end of the file.

– Deal with breaths. A natural sounding read will usually be fine with breaths left in, but for a fast reading commercial, you may need to spend time carefully cutting out breaths in a desperate attempt to save milliseconds!

– I normalise the waveform to 100%, then add light limiting – 9Db – to give the waveform a “haircut”, then “Normalise” the file to -3Db, before saving.

Never ever attach files to emails, even small ones add up to clog your send box. It’s far more professional to email a link from a file transfer service. If your client does not ask for specific file types, send a 32 bit wav and a small email copy which is useful in case the production company need to email it to their clients. If you use WeTransfer, for a small fee the “splash page” where the download link is can be an advert for your services!


I recommend that you offer “unlimited” retakes, like I do. In other words, if the client wants any changes, you don’t penalise them in any way. For no extra charge, you will re-record the sections required or even the whole lot if they want it. In my experience, unless you really haven’t understood the brief you’d been given, most people will be fully happy first time or just want a few retakes in the style and speed of the original that they can “patch” over the original recording.


It’s rude and desperate to send invoices right away; it’s usually good form to wait a few days at least! Unless you are happy with your own accounts system, I recommend Xero, the system that I use. It’s great because it’s a cloud-based system, no installation, so you can reconcile your accounts on your phone, tablet or any computer anywhere. You can set up multiple currencies in PayPal, a must for an international voiceover. My Xero is set up with GB Pounds, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars and Euros. It works out currency conversions as well. But the killer application is that the system securely “sniffs” your bank and PayPal accounts once a day so you don’t have to enter anything. You just need to match your invoices with the payments that Xero has sniffed out and everything is fine. As Xero is cloud based, your accountant can log in as well, so you don’t need to waste time doing the yearly account submission with a carrier bag of invoices or receipts as you’ve already done it all!


Update your website once a month at least, keeping in mind SEO. Pepper your site with varieties of of words that are similar to “voiceover” or “voice actor”, such as commentator, audio recordings, audio studio, audio talent, etc. Don’t forget featuring keywords of your specialties such as “medical voiceovers, medical narration, pharmaceutical narration, etc. Ensure the “id” and “Alt tag” of your photos and illustrations isn’t some random number but something that search engines can read.

Each day do at least 20 minutes of marketing, even if you are busy. Find new production companies and look up their websites then email them with a short, professional message offering your services. Target a country per week if you like. have a superb international directory of production companies that is free to access. LinkedIn is great too if you use it properly. Ask these sorts of people to join your network: Production managers, Creative Directors, Producers, any video production company, audio production companies, etc. Don’t forget that when they accept your invite, you will be sent an email. Don’t ignore this as you’ll get a link (in small blue writing – don’t miss it!) saying “Send a message”. This is gold-dust as you can send a direct message including your contact details without buying any “in-mails” from LinkedIn.

Consider signing up to voiceover websites where clients post auditions and you send in your best shot. These so called “pay to play” sites have had loads of criticism, but usually from voiceovers who don’t use the sites properly, and therefore don’t get much work from them. Some sites you pay a subscription and then they also take a % of the fee, but they offer a voiceover access to some very high profile clients. The most professional and active sites are in my opinion:;, the then, and Don’t forget the general freelance sites where you can post your voiceover services… People Per Hour, UpWork etc. Fiverr is also a great money spinner, but don’t sell VO’s for just one $5 gig, that’s crazy… use the Fiverr package options to include loads of perceived “extras” that people will generally need anyway, such as fast delivery, wav file and so on. Using this technique my actual minimum fee on Fiverr is $50 which is worth reading something for!

Why Weird Words Make Great Brand Names

When creating a truly great company name, the number one consideration should be the level of “engagement.”

“Engagement?” you ask incredulously.

Yes… engagement.

While there are all sorts of naming strategies… metaphors, acronyms, coined/invented, key attributes, positive connotations, etc., the one common denominator that separates the mediocre from the memorable, is the degree to which the name engages the mind of the consumer. Most new business owners opt for company names that inform and describe, leaving nothing to the imagination. They often fail to realize that the context surrounding the name (the ad, the store sign, the proposal, the brochure copy, etc.) will define what they do, so the name can be free to describe how they do it. In other words, no customer will hear or see the name in a mental vacuum. Yet this is the way we often judge names when “brainstorming”. And it’s why focus groups are such notoriously bad judges of good names. It’s not the people that are flawed, it’s the process itself. Most of the feedback takes the form of free associations, all in an effort to determine if a name is “good” or “bad.” It goes something like this…

Interviewer: “What do you think of the name Monster?” Respondent: “Ew! They’re scary and dangerous!”

Interviewer: “What about Amazon?” Respondent: “Jungle… drowning… snakes… piranhas…”

Interviewer: “Apple?” Respondent: “A bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”

Interviewer: “Caterpillar?” Respondent: “Squishy, soft, and squirmy.”

Interviewer to new business owner: “I think we can safely assume these would be bad brand names…”

So if it’s not a matter of free associations, then what determines a good name? Again, it’s that all important element known as “engagement.” Engagement is what causes you to lean forward, ask twice, invite more information and pursue the conversation. A good name should invite a discussion, start a conversation and “engage” the other person’s interest and attention. That’s why Amazon, even though it says nothing about what it does, works better than Books-A-Million. Amazon is open and inviting and Books-A-Million is literal and descriptive. Amazon speaks to the process…flowing, easy, abundant. Books-A-Million speaks to the products… books. And while Amazon leaves room for the company to grow in any number of directions, Books-A-Million leaves the company in a bind. I once heard an ad for a company called Just Brakes. Since they had outgrown this narrow niche, they adopted a new tag line… “We’re more than just brakes.”

Let’s take another example. Linens & Things is needlessly redundant since most people, after seeing a newspaper ad, or walking by the store window, will know the company sells linens and things. It would be better to use the name to capture some key strategic position or advantage, or to evoke a feeling or emotion. Is Linen & Things the best, the fastest, the biggest, the most service oriented, the trendiest? We simply don’t know. They have described but they haven’t evoked. They’ve explained but they haven’t engaged.

The objection I routinely hear is “But with names like these, no one will know what I do!” And that’s when I explain that trust is needed… trust in the power of context to fill in the blanks. That way the name is freed to paint a picture, engage the senses and position the brand to reflect not what you do, but how you do it.

So will any weird word work?


Weird for weird sake will just leave the customer scratching his or her head in bewilderment of moving on in indifference. Bold, engaging names will create the desire to know more, and that’s where you need to be ready to tell the story. The name then becomes a segue to a larger story. It starts with the name and tagline and then continues to the:15 second elevator speech and beyond.

One of our clients we named was TKO Surgical. When asked if that’s a boxing reference, our client gives an emphatic “yes,” explaining that they have a mission to both defend and fight for their clients’ needs. They’ll champion their cause and remain in their corner until the last bell sounds. Their tag line? “Technically Superior.”

So whether a name is based on a metaphor, a key attribute, an acronym, or a positive connotation, the overarching goal is to create a name that engages. Perhaps that’s why Albert Einstein asserted that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” If given the choice of engaging vs. informing, opt for a name that begs for more. It may seem weird, but the results can be wonderful.

Business PowerPoint Template Ideas to Transform Your Dull PowerPoint Into Great Looking Slides

Organizing your presentation content into a visually engaging story is arguably the best way to present. We understand what it takes to create such visual story telling using effective Business templates. In this article we offer an array of creative business powerpoint template designs that are sure to win you accolades. These professional powerpoint templates can help spark creativity in you to showcase your ideas in many different ways.

Idea #1: Visual Bullets

Create business templates with lines, shapes and spacing to separate the content. This trick comes handy if you have a lot of content to be organized.

Idea #2: Chunking

You can also create professional templates based on the concept of chunking. Chunking allows you to organize your content in groups and you can show those chunks horizontally or vertically depending on how much content you have. Use shapes to separate the text and add numbers, headlines or icons to each chunk of text depending on the type of content you have

Idea #3: Picturization

Another way of building effective business presentation templates is to represent your content by using photos. Use images relevant to your content which aids in communicating your business story. Professional templates created using photos help in visually separating the data hence the clutter

Idea #4: Iconify

Use of icons has become another popular option to create Business templates. There are number of free icon libraries available online for using in your business presentation templates. They occupy less space, visually separate the clutter and are best to emphasise certain content.

Idea #5: Backgrounding

Background image is a great way to set the context of the content therefore a lot of professional templates are designed using image as a background. You can insert a gradient, semi-transparent layer between the text and the photo so that whichever photo you use, the text will always be visible

These are some of the ways to build effective Business PowerPoint templates. However to learn more diverse formats and designs, please visit our website.

We offer instant access to downloadable 100% editable business PowerPoint templates. Our team is powered by PowerPoint Specialists, graphic designers and business professionals therefore it is able to deliver on its promise of high quality effective professional PowerPoint templates.

Professional PowerPoint templates are categorized based on unique needs of business professionals. Whether you are a marketing manager, entrepreneur, project manager or HR head, you are sure to find tailor-made Business PowerPoint Templates that will fit your objective.

Get specific ideas for Business PowerPoint templates

Languages of India – A Great Unifier Or Divider of People?

Language is usually considered to be an effective tool for communication between people in the process of transferring their ideas, message, knowledge etc. Languages of India are a great unifier as well as divider of people. Translation, whether it is a general translation dealing in languages of India, requires utmost care in transforming the text from the source language to the target language. The translator who translates and checks the Indian languages document should have in-depth knowledge in languages of India. The translator should also have a good grasp of the subject matter under consideration.

India is a land of many regional languages spoken in different regions. Hindi is the National language and spoken widely in Northern India. Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Gujarati, Sindhi etc are the regional languages spoken in different regions of India. So reaching the larger general public means reaching through translator and their translation services. Today with the advent of internet, the dependence on internet for education, business, health etc. have been made easy. Now most of the business transactions, distance education, health advice through video conferencing, online shopping etc are readily accessible to general public through the internet from any corner of the country.

The translation documents translated by translator enable the readers from various part of the country to read through the local language websites. Through this unique Indian language facility, an online business company can transact with consumers easily. All type of national business meetings can be held with multilingual participants from different parts of the country and this helps to promote business within the nation. Moreover, marketing brands becomes an easy task with the help of Indian language translation features where the common customer can easily enquirer without speaking in languages of India.

The accuracy with which the local language translation features deliver the message is very important whether in business, selling products or education. This accuracy mainly depends on the closeness in meaning of the word translated into the required Indian language. It is a common belief that anyone who knows Indian languages can do the translation services. Mere knowledge of local languages does not qualify translator for professional translation. The translator should have good knowledge of at least two local languages, a mother tongue language and another local language.

Another quality of a good translator is that he/she should have the writing skill. Another important point to look forward in a good translator is that he/she should be able to translate the text according to the target culture.Indian translation is a complex task and hence the translators should have more patience, experience and above all concentration while doing the work. He/she is required to read and comprehend the information to be translated first and then start doing the work.

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