The functions of voice, speech, and communication are interrelated, sometimes being used synonymously and interchangeably, but when copywriting for voiceover or working with a voiceover artist, it is important to understand the distinctions between the three terms.
Firstly, “voice” is different than “brand voice.” “Brand voice” is the personality, tone, and emotion infused into a company's communications, regardless of medium. It is a holistic term referring to a broad range of communications and can include internal and external images, color schemes, texts, sounds, and more.
“Voice,” however, is merely the sound produced by the air as it is pushed from the lungs through the vocal folds in the larynx.
The larynx is more commonly referred to as the voice box or if your larynx is more pronounced, your Adam’s apple. If you place your fingers at the top of your neck under your chin, you will feel a lump in your throat – that’s your larynx.
As you breath, air passes through the larynx as it enters and exits your lungs, vibrating through the vocal folds and creating what we recognize as voice.
Voice is not only used in speech, but also in the acts of laughing and crying, and in the case of babies, cooing. In voiceover, the voice can account for aspects such as tone and pitch.
Speech refers to the entire process of vocalizing sound, including breath, voice, and verbalization, the process of turning voice into recognizable words.
After the air has passed through your vocal folds, it vibrates through and out the mouth. You can alter the received sound of those vibrations by creating different configurations using your tongue, soft palate, teeth, gums, and lips.
Alterations of speech can be heard as changes in volume, as the pressure in which the air moves through the vocal folds is increased or decreased.
Another alteration of speech is accent, as the air is shaped differently around similar mouth positions.
“Communication” is the exchanging of information and covers a range of mediums including voice, speech, body language, visual elements like color and fonts, images, and, of course, writing.
It is important to note that voice and speech are not elements of written communication, which is the area where most copywriters thrive, so as you take on copywriting for voiceover, remember these additional elements and how they may change what is being communicated based on tone, pitch, volume, and verbalization.
Consider adding a Vocal Brand Guide in your Brand Guidelines to help you keep the elements of voice and speech in mind as you write. Take a look here for an easy guide on how to create a vocal brand guide unique to your company.
You can also talk to your voiceover artist about different techniques they can use to help you best communicate your message. They are the experts after all!