Audio Lessons for Brainshark Authors: What You Can Learn from the Radio

September 02, 2014 | Irwin Hipsman
Audio Lessons for Brainshark Authors: What You Can Learn from the Radio

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I examined the use of background music and visuals in TV commercials, and how similar techniques can be applied to Brainshark presentations. Now, I’m returning to talk about audio, but this time through a different channel: radio.

It is impossible to measure what percent of Brainshark presentations have multiple narrators; but after having watched more than a thousand presentations, my guess is that it’s quite small. 

As part of the research for this series, I looked at 50 stories from National Public Radio (NPR), and found that the average story runs for about 4 minutes… and every one of them had multiple voices. NPR stories are generally narrated by a reporter and one or two subject matter experts—and it works!

There is nothing that prevents you from having more than one voice per Brainshark presentation.

In fact, we encourage it! Let’s take a look at how this can be done:

  1. Personalization: Any presentation can be enabled to let multiple people contribute to an opening and a closing (or the slides in the middle, for that matter).

  2. Conference call: Two or more people can get on a conference call and record multiple voices on one or all slides.

  3. Guest audio: An author can invite someone to record their voice on one or more slides. In general we would suggest uploading just the slides for your guest to voice over before merging them into your presentation.

You might ask, “What happens if someone records audio and its volume is higher or lower than the core audio? Or they leave a few seconds of blank audio before or after the narration?”

Yes—we recognize audio can be a tricky thing. And it’s frustrating when it’s not consistent throughout a presentation. That’s what the Really Simple Audio Editor is for!  It’s a really simple tool that does only 4 things:

  1. Delete or cut/paste a segment of audio

  2. Raise or lower the volume

  3. Deletes blank audio at beginning or end of the file

  4. Insert a half second of blank audio at any point

Go to “Manage Slides,” and download the MP3 file for the audio that you want to correct (this works for PCs only – sorry, no Macs). Then, move that file into the Really Simple Audio Editor, edit it, and go back to the actual slide to replace it (see screenshot below).

There is a lot to learn from radio news about timing, scripting, and the actual process of narration. Jonathan Kern gives a great tip in the book Sound Recording, in which he writes that narrating is a “physical process…the greatest obstacle people face is their own nervousness. When you feel tense, your vocal cords get tight…Loosen up your back, neck and jaw muscles…you can really hear the difference.”

Want a more in-depth overview of what you can do with audio in your Brainshark presentations? Attend a 45-minute online training class.

Just looking for feedback? Send us the link to your presentations and we will give you suggestions for improvement within 3 business days through our Presentation Success Review.

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