5 Tips for Choosing the Right Voice Talent for Your E-learning Course

Written by Grant Thomas — Posted in Community, E-Learning Industry

So you’ve finished your course, nailed down your talking points, and mapped out your distribution. But have you thought about the voice that will bring your training to life? Finding the right voice for your course calls for more than a “sounds good” approach. With these five tips, you’ll have the tools to find the right voice talent to enhance your course for learners.

1. Keep your audience engaged

If you want people to learn from your course, it’s essential to keep your delivery in tune with your content. Do you remember watching old training videos from your first job? Or listening to that droning teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Just staying awake was a struggle! So look for a voice talent who will keep your training interesting and your message memorable. As your actor auditions, listen for conversational voice dynamics and believable tones. These characteristics will enhance the scenarios in your course so they sound realistic and relatable rather than canned.

2. Maintain brand consistency

The voice you choose should reflect your brand’s overall image. Some organizations have marketing and advertising materials that you can reference, which makes the process much simpler. Remember to focus on the learner, and to keep the company’s brand and message consistent. This is how the rock stars do it!

3. Speak with natural pacing

E-learning needs a conversational delivery. Listen for auditions that sound like real people rather than overproduced radio promos. Consider adapting your script so it reads at about 150 words per minute, rather than stretching it out to the classic commercial tempo of 120-130 words per minute. A voice talent who can bring an “every day” pace to your project is more likely to keep your audience’s interest.

4. Check previous experience or star rating

It’s usually beneficial to work with a voice talent that has previous e-learning or large-project experience, such as for documentaries or audiobooks. Look through some of their past voice-over jobs and poke around their websites—most voice talent have a space for you to check out testimonials and demos.

However, if you find a voice that’s able to deliver the brand image, pacing, and engagement you want, but hasn’t done an e-learning project before, trust your instincts. Everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes the newbies are as eager to deliver a perfect project as you are. Just be sure to have a reliable audition and recommendations.

5. Specify technical expectations

Your voice talent will need to deliver the finished product, and these projects often require a lot of editing and labeling after recording. Be thorough and clear about your technical requirements so you get what you need from your hired talent. A quick Google search, or consultation with your account manager if you go through a voice-over marketplace like Voices.com, can help you pinpoint exactly what you need.

Once you’ve determined your technical needs, you should post full details about the number of files you want, how you want them labeled, and when they’re due. This will help you attract technically capable talent.

Whether you’re seeking talent on your own, or using a website to source the voice for your course, these five pointers will help your e-learning course resonate with your audience and be a success for you, your team, and your client.

About Grant Thomas

Grant Thomas is the Manager of Professional Services at Voices.com. He brings over 15 years of professional experience in broadcast media, audio production, instructional design, client management, and talent recruitment. He is a “go-to” e-learning production contact for many of Voices.com’s large-enterprise clientele.

10 responses to “5 Tips for Choosing the Right Voice Talent for Your E-learning Course”


Great post Grant! I have one consideration to add to your list; talent availability. You should seek talent from sources that will provide access to the same voices when you need content updated. A small, required update to a voiceover a couple of months down the road can result in a great deal of effort and cost if you can’t get a hold of the same narrator you used before.

Gordon Lam // Posted at 9:00 am on January 17th, 2014

I agree that scripts need to be written so as to allow for conversational engaging styles of narration. If you aren’t hearing too much of that tone in the e-learning demos you listen to, consider the talent’s ability to be conversational other demos such as for Explainer Videos or general Narration. As a voice over talent, I find unfortunately that the majority of my e-learning scripts are not conversational at all – but what do you expect when you’re discussing Critical Power Plant Safety or Knee Surgery? So it’s refreshing to have work on conversational presentations, which are definitely the most effective.

Lance Blair // Posted at 12:36 pm on January 21st, 2014

That’s all well and good, but I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told to read it as if I
were talking to one person, in a friendly and sincere manner and pace…THEN I’d be
asked to do it again as if I’m trying to sell it to the listener…hardsell announcer at a very fast pace with a loud and highly excited pace. I’ve also done a lot of auditions precisely as directed to do within the description by the client. Then, when I’d hear the read of the person who got the job, it would be 180 degrees opposite of their description. Plus, seldom is the copy written within the style they think they want…often it’s the exact same copy as is in their brochure. That having been said,
I don’t mind having a client request a number of takes; it’s just that I’d like to know
what was wrong with previous read before I continue!

Jack Parmell // Posted at 2:31 pm on January 21st, 2014

Terrific tips that can really make the difference in how to best serve each learner–the ultimate test of a well-produced E-learning project. Some talent may indeed have a great voice for radio, but not the skills needed so that they may successfully “reach to teach.” I especially appreciate the attention to thorough and thoughtful consideration of services offered by the auditioning talent during the selection process that you’ve written about here. Thank you for sharing, Grant!

Teacher Dan Deslaurier

Teacher Dan Deslaurier // Posted at 4:09 pm on January 21st, 2014

All good points! But here’s one for the writer: If you’re looking for that natural, easy-to-follow sound, consider that in your sentences. Write at least a *little* bit the way people speak. Believe it or not, voice actors can do more with short sentences than they can with long ones.

Susan Murphy // Posted at 6:08 pm on January 21st, 2014

Thank you for the valuable tips..
Now I would like to share my experience….. I convert all my Ppts. to Pdf.docs and then run the pdf on ‘narration’ and I do follow its speed and modulations …I find good results.

ponnusami kasi thangarajan // Posted at 10:58 am on January 24th, 2014

Right voice talent for e learning is a good option to keep up with the information us need Thanks for sharing your thought on this topic, it was very helpful.

ezekielztang // Posted at 8:26 am on January 30th, 2014

I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your content.
Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to
book mark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week.
I subscribed to your Feed too.

bleacherreport.com // Posted at 4:06 am on February 13th, 2014

Feel free to contact us anytime, we always looking ahead to serve our Voice acting, Voice actor, Voice actors and Voice artist.

Voice Artist // Posted at 1:38 am on March 1st, 2014

just information please for a male voice over talent.. thank you..

lydia damiano // Posted at 4:33 pm on June 14th, 2014

Comments are closed on this post. Need more help? Post your question in the E-Learning Heroes Discussions.

Recent Comments