Episode 39 - Jennie Eriksen

Can you hear the sound of my "lovely voice"? Do I sound like a monster? We're making conversations about voice over count!

Jennie Eriksen, Lovely Voice Voice Over

Making Conversations about Voice Over Count!

Jennie Erikson voice over artist

“They wanted their staff to understand instruction, but not be…. if you like, talked at…..” – Jennie Eriksen, Making Conversations Count, July 2021.

This episode’s guest has been both a successful magazine owner for local businesses, as well as a voice over artist, specialising in shaping e-learning.

Using our voice is a powerful tool that can convey many emotions and Jennie Eriksen compels people to listen and engage with hers.

She helps her intended listener to learn by being able to bring characters to life.

A huge proportion of the preparation for voiceover work is in the research and how the key message is delivered.

And this is where Jennie stands out. She does not cut corners with this.

During this chat, Wendy learns about the importance of presenting ourselves correctly at networking and how 150 words per minute should be the framework to create a great first impression.

Jennie also shares how her conversation was affected through a rare illness, and there’s a connection with the movie Brain on Fire.

What’s New Wendywoo?

There are mentions for Charlie in Dunstable, and regular Making Conversations Count listener, Wolfie!

 

Wendy often mentions the letter to listeners and the resources on offer. You can find all of this good stuff, here.

Listen to other episodes on your favourite platform…

Full Episode Transcript

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT 

Making Conversations Count – Episode Thirty-Nine

July 15th 2021

Wendy Harris & Jennie Eriksen

 

Timestamps

00:00:00: Introduction
00:00:47: What’s new Wendy Woo
00:02:25: Norway as a home
00:03:43: Community magazine
00:06:30: Tenerife
00:08:04: Voiceovers
00:12:29: Honing the craft
00:13:59: Jennie’s perfect job
00:15:39: Community works
00:18:47: International
00:22:34: Keep attention
00:26:13: Jennie’s pivotal conversation
00:32:13: Confidence
00:34:09: Final conversation

 

Wendy Harris: It takes a lot of practice to sound this good, and I mean this good.  I’m joking, today we have a fabulous guest who’s going to be talking to us about voiceover work and the importance of inflection, tone, speed, light and shade of the voice.  It’s something that’s fascinated me for a very long time, and she joins us from overseas.  She’s got the most incredible name; it’s Jennie Eriksen and she’s making conversations about voiceover count.

What’s new with you, Wendy Woo?  I love this little bit of sharing what I’ve been up to and recently I went to the LoveBiz Ladies Awards.  It’s an event that’s usually held in October every year, and the lovely Sue Crooks has had to reorganise it three times because of a pandemic.  It was fabulous to spend an evening with my daughter, who works on the show in the background, and there were 55 ladies all in their bling.  It was a noise to be reckoned with, but it was fabulous because I was able to witness the winner of a panel that I had been privileged to judge.  It was an emotional evening and I cleaned up on the raffle.

We’ve got a new review too, and it’s from our regular, Woolfie; here’s what she has to say about the Graham Nash episode, “A wonderful and insightful conversation, Wendy.  Graham’s integrity is defined by overcoming adversity and making the right choice.  Family will always come first.  A dinosaur, doctor and Disney make this a memorable podcast to listen to”.  Gosh, Woolfie, we couldn’t agree more with you.

Come on, Jennie, where are you in the world today and why?

Jennie Eriksen: The obvious answer is that I’m married to a Norwegian, so as soon as I that people go, “I get why you’re there” but actually it’s not why I’m here.  Actually, it was a little bit of parental stuff.  Both our children, because my husband is Norwegian, have dual nationality and as it happened, our son wanted to study in the US and Norway is a particularly good country in helping students to be able to do that.  They have a wonderful loan system, a loan programme, but you have to actually live here.

So, our son had to live and to study here for a certain period of time before he was eligible for that, so we were a little bit strategic and we moved back actually for him and he took all the appropriate tests and lived here and everything, and that facilitated him going to study in Michigan, so that was the reason we did it.

Wendy Harris: Ten points to Norway for having the sort of system that encourages international education.

Jennie Eriksen: What they hope is that you’ll learn lots of good stuff abroad and of course bring it back to Norway —

Wendy Harris: Bring it back.

Jennie Eriksen: — to implement it, so it’s a good strategy; but it certainly supports students who want to take a different route in terms of study.  Of course, if you study here in Norway, it’s free.

Wendy Harris: Gosh there’ll be a rush at the Visa office, I’m sure.

Jennie Eriksen: Absolutely.

Wendy Harris: So, you’re based in Norway; you’re from the UK originally.  I alluded to your company name, which is Lovely Voice.  How has your business changed?  Tell everybody a little bit about what you do and how you help people and what being in Norway has meant.

Jennie Eriksen: My husband and I have always championed small businesses, that’s the essence of what we do and that, as you and I met at networking, that’s where I first started my networking almost 20 years ago.  Lovely Voice was actually born out of, we actually lived in Tenerife for a while and we moved, we’d actually had a small business magazine that covered Essex and Hertfordshire and it was 9,000 circulations.  So, we extended our passion, if you like, for championing small businesses into actually creating a magazine, which we were super super proud of.

It actually did what we wanted it to do, we created powerful messaging that meant that people had adverts that made people want to connect with them and use their services, but we literally did the whole thing ourselves.  We created everything, all the adverts and we walked the magazine round to all 9,000 households, and because it actually did what it said on the tin, we’d get advertisers say, “I don’t need to advertise this month with you, because I’ve got X amount of new clients”, or, “I’m only a one-man band hairdresser and I’m maxed out and I don’t need to advertise”.

So, we were literally on a hamster wheel of always just putting this magazine out there, coming back having a cup of tea, starting again, finding new advertisers and it just became too much.  With growing children we just — if you want, call it burnout if you like, but really and truly we were completely spent, so we decided to move to Tenerife.

Wendy Harris: Sounds like you were a victim of your own success though, and I get that because I can do some projects myself and put a time limit; it should be a three-month campaign or something and it can end in eight or nine weeks, because you’ve got to the results that you need already.  So, I’d see that as a positive thing really that led you to Tenerife next.

Jennie Eriksen: Tenerife, yes, it was a positive thing.  What the magazine — at the time, you know, hindsight is a wonderful thing when you think about it.  Really and truly, it would have been great to work with people that saw what they did and wanted to replicate and grow their staff, but really and truly it served that one-man band.

We had, for example, a window cleaner that had a particular washing system; it was super-duper and stuff, so he did posh window cleaning if you like, but there was only him.  He didn’t want to expand; he didn’t want a team.  The advert worked and he was looking at working on several houses every single day of the week.  When people are just one person and you max them out, they don’t have capacity for anymore, so really and truly we needed to draw the attention of people that wanted to grow their businesses, if you like.

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, but yes, we went to Tenerife because we thought that was a good idea; we went on a bit of an adventure.  My husband did some consultancy and I ended up teaching at the local theatre school, which my daughter was part of.  So, that drew on my performing arts background because I used to love amateur theatre, amateur dramatics, and so I had the opportunity to teach the children and prepare them for their LAMDA exams which is the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

That’s really where the voiceover work started, because I was working with the children in terms of words and intonation, the light and shade of things, and then had the opportunity to record for somebody.  The beauty of voiceover work is that technology is such that we don’t have to be in a studio as such; as long as we can replicate a studio quality sound, you can be anywhere in the world.  In fact, I’ve narrated for over 60 countries, people that I’ve never had the opportunity to meet, but nevertheless can produce something for somebody in Singapore as much as I can in Coventry.

Wendy Harris: It is incredible how technology connects the whole world, the parts of it that are able to connect, obviously.  What sort of voiceover work do you do, Jennie?  Is there a specific sort of client that comes to you; do you attract similar sorts of businesses; or, can it be absolutely anything from any kind of diverse field?

Jennie Eriksen: Voiceover, it’s one of those things when we talk about niching.  Voiceover is very much played to your strengths.  So, if you hear my voice, my voice is obviously a midlife lady, it’s got a certain amount of gravitas, if you like, it’s got a warm tonality.  My voice lends itself very well, if you like, to things like e-learning; or if I play characters, invariably I’m mum or doctor or office manager or something like that.  So, we’re not one size fits all, unless you’re super clever and can replicate lots of different sounds.  We tend to work within our field of expertise, so something that’s kind of YouTube, telling things about the Kardashians; clearly, I don’t have the voice for that.  If you want authority or, as I say warmth, then my voice lends itself very much to that.

Predominantly most of my work is actually e-learning, because I’ve got that kind of command, if you like, in my voice and the warmth and the assurance, and I actually narrate for a very big company in Denmark, a pharmaceutical company.  And that was something they very much wanted, that they wanted their staff to understand instruction, but not be talked at; rather, included in the conversation.  Because obviously, when you’re dealing with something that’s fine-tuning in terms of pharmaceuticals, that they have to be careful of staff, but also the end user has to have a product that is absolutely safe to use, they wanted somebody that had warmth and the gravitas at the same time, that kind of brings together the training programme.

For example, I will send them some modules and then, it’s kind of a rinse and repeat thing.  They say, “Hey, we’ve got another few chapters to do, would you do the same as usual?”  That’s actually a big compliment when somebody says that, “Hey, we’re trusting you with this and can you do the same as usual?”  It’s like they’re saying to you, “We love what you do.  We trust what you do and we’re leaving it in your hands to do what you do well”.

Wendy Harris: You have clearly found your style of delivery that works for them, that they’re happy with.  I think what you’re saying is right, there’s a certain sort of tonality that we kind of pick our ears up to and we want to listen greater.  If it’s got a hint of intimidation in it, for example, you would probably sort of back off.  Your mind could potentially start to wander and if you’re learning, you’ve got to hold people’s attention, haven’t you as well, which is another key trick.  So, not only has it got to be very carefully scripted, but the way that you deliver those words has got to be in such a way that you keep them, and then they get to the end.

Jennie Eriksen: It’s interesting because people think a two-minute narration will take you two minutes.  It doesn’t take you two minutes, it’s so much more than that.  One of the gripes if you like in the voiceover industry is that people will say, “Hey, I’ve got this project and they’re charging X amount of money”, and a lot of maybe perhaps the old school will say, “Gosh that’s really insulting, that’s a very low amount of money”.

There are people that will lowball you because technology is such, when we think in terms of AI voice, how wonderful that now sounds and how going forward that’s going to sound even better, but there are genuinely people that don’t realise the process that goes into it; that when they send you a script, a two-minute script, it’s going to take you longer.  You’re going to look at that script, you’re going to see where the light and shade is; we have to add things to the script.  Where are we going to focus on a particular word; where are we going to maybe speed up a little bit; where does the script change?

Sometimes I’ll look at a script and the first part of it, maybe it’s a little bit doom and gloom; we’re setting the scene, things are not perhaps so great.  Then, there’s a turning point in the script where we’re offering hope to the listener, and maybe that goes with an explainer video too.  So, all that has to be worked out before you even step into the studio; and then of course, you’re going to make bloopers, you’ll listen to yourself and think, “No, I didn’t really nail that line, that’s not really how I want it to sound”.  Then obviously you’ve got the cleaning and the processing, you want to send something that is of tip-top quality to people.  You don’t want any “ums” and “ers” and noise in there and all that takes time.

Then, maybe there are other things that a client might need too.  They might need a music bed, they might need that narration to be synced to a video, so that what you’re saying comes at a certain point in a video and all that takes time, certainly longer than perhaps the two minutes that somebody thinks of initially.

Wendy Harris: I agree, Jennie.  I mean it’s like anything.  You might be paying for something today that you only perceive as taking this long, but would take years of learning and honing that craft.  And I don’t think we ever stop learning our craft, do we?  There’s always going to be times when I know certainly, I can look back at something and go, “I would do that a little bit differently now”.  And it’s that hindsight, isn’t it?

Jennie Eriksen: Yeah.  I listen back to the early days, and I sometimes think, “I would like to give the client their money back”, because I thought I was doing everything that I felt I should then in terms of quality, but I feel I’ve moved on such a long way since I first started.  I listen and sometimes I think, “No, that’s how I would do it”, and other times I think, “I would maybe change that around a little bit”.  Yes, you’re always a work in progress and there’s always stuff to be learned for sure.

Wendy Harris: In terms of voiceover work, I know that there’s lots of different types of it for advertising, there’s different mediums now; we can literally pick up sound, media, anywhere.  You’ve got podcasting, you’ve got YouTube and you’ve got people’s websites.  It’s such a rich medium to be involved in.  If you could pick one area that you perhaps have a burning desire to get involved in, what would that be?

Jennie Eriksen: As I say, I normally play to my strengths, so that’s normally e-learning.  Actually, meditation is something I actually narrate.  I’ve actually created some mediation tracks too, but I got the opportunity the other day of actually playing — I can’t divulge too much, I’m actually playing an evil character in an online game.  I don’t know how they’d heard it, but I’ve actually got a demo reel that’s actually got characters on it, and somebody reached out to me and just said, “Could you be our evil character?”

Again, that alludes to what I was saying earlier, the first time I did the first rounds of all the lines, and I sent them, and they just said, “Could you sound meaner?”  So, I had to literally almost put myself in a bad mood, well in fact I did put myself in a bad, because the character had to be very evil.  She was literally slaying people all over the place and they wanted some — could I do some sounds where I was being stabbed, and also could I do some sounds where I was dying?  They love it; I had an email this morning, they love what I sent.  The first time around wasn’t so great, the second time around, “Yeah, more please”.  That would be cool, I’d love to do more of that.

Wendy Harris: I can’t imagine how I would sound dying, I’d have to do some research on that and maybe my browser history would be a little bit questionable.  It’s that kind of challenge, isn’t it, that puts you into research mode and gives you yet another layer, I think, of diversity to be able to go, “Yeah, I can do that”.  Even if it is a challenge and it takes a few goes at it, you’ll be super proud because you pushed yourself outside.

Jennie Eriksen: There are times when you’re going to look at a brief and think, “That just isn’t me”, and that’s where I think community comes into anything that we do.  For example, I live in Norway, and I get a lot of people saying, “Could you do this Norwegian script?”  No, I can’t because I would sound like a Brit narrating in Norwegian, I wouldn’t sound authentic.  So, when I get requests that I don’t think are in my wheelhouse, I’d rather reach out to somebody in the community and say, “Hey, younger person or male or somebody that does something different, this is not for me, can I pass this onto you?”

We get scared, so many people get scared, whatever industry that they’re in, that somebody appears in the same room that does what they perceive is the same as them, and we get very intimidated by people.  But actually, when you reach out to other people, I’ve had people that have done projects with me.  For example, a guy called Scott that I do work with, he’s my guy and he does lots of different voices and when we’re doing perhaps kid’s stories or something, he’s my go-to guy.  Or if somebody needs a guy, and doesn’t need a female, well then I’m going to send that project to him, or if I need somebody that needs to do some more character voices.  Indeed, my daughter when she’s actually home, does amazing character voices and so often, I get a request for her and people will say, “Is Pia back from university?”  Of course, no she isn’t.  “Will I do?”  “No, no”.

Wendy Harris: It’s that what’s goes around comes around as well, isn’t it, in your field or other fields or just in general?

Jennie Eriksen: You’re better off having a virtual coffee with somebody or a one-to-one and getting to know them better.  I choose to believe in community over competition, because even when you and I go to networking meetings, and we hear people talk, if somebody does do the same as you or what you perceive is the same as you, one person, and you need their services or you know somebody that needs their services, one person will resonate better with you.

It will be their messaging, it’ll be their je ne sais quoi, it’ll be their vibe, it’ll be something; and I can audition for a part and somebody else can do the same, and I can listen to my audition and think that I’ve nailed it and that’s great, I couldn’t do it any better; they just might prefer the other person’s voice.  That’s nothing against me; it just means on this occasion, they met the brief, they sound like the character or the voiceover that they want, and I didn’t.  So, I can’t take that personally.  We live to fight another day and other things do come up for me that maybe other people have been considered for and I’ve been chosen on this particular occasion.  That’s just the way it goes; if you think like that, you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment.

Wendy Harris: Then there’ll be a queue after listening to today of people saying, “Jennie, I want you to be my evil character”.

Jennie Eriksen: Why yes.  I surprised myself actually, my husband listened, “Wow you sound really mean”.  “Yeah, I am a real baddie”, and the death sounds had to be obviously I’d got my comeuppance, and somebody had obviously done away with me.

Another interesting part of the job that I was going to mention to you of course is working with clients overseas as well, that’s another thing.  Obviously, as I mentioned I’ve worked for over 60 different countries, which is a huge privilege, but sometimes what works perhaps in the German language that gets translated into English doesn’t work.  So again, it’s about that client work and going back and forth for the client saying, “I understand where you’re coming from, but in English that’s not quite a good fit”.

Sometimes of course, a very typical thing with clients is that they have a particular thing that they want to say, a particular script to go with a video and the script is far too long.  Then you have to be the bearer of bad news and say, “I hear what you want to say, but that’s just not going to fit”.  That’s true, of course, with networking.  Typically we need to think that about 150 words is a minute.  That’s what I tend to base my voiceover on, is at 150 words in a minute; so when people go to, for example, networking meetings and they’re trying to cram 170, 180, 190 words into a minute, you can, of course.

Wendy Harris: Mr Genius comes to mind!

Jennie Eriksen: If you want your message to land and resonate and permeate and for people to hear it and for it to be absorbed, then 150 words a minute is a good speed.  When we have newsreaders, they read slightly more quickly about 180 words a minute, and the reason they do that is because we don’t need every word.  We hear those words, “Brexit”, “Boris”, “viruses”, what’s happening in the world.

Wendy Harris: You switch off the key words that are oversaturating your space.

Jennie Eriksen: Exactly but we have to look to see if the words fit the video and also sometimes, as I mentioned to you earlier, there are some parts you’re going to narrate more slowly than others, because you really want to emphasise certain points, or maybe you’re narrating in a particular mood before you switch to a more hopeful mood.  There the voice would be more upbeat, would be quicker.  As I say, that’s true with English speaking clients but also with international clients where you’re having to say, “That doesn’t fit, that doesn’t work”, because obviously all languages are different in terms of word count.

Wendy Harris: I was talking to a good associate of mine last week and he speaks Mandarin, and he’s looking to go overseas and spend some time working at a university, and he’s looking to sort of get himself from a grade 4 to a grade 7.  Clive, I do hope I remembered that technically right, because I know how particular he is; but it was certainly something that he was saying, that he will be in a better place to be able to translate things, having understood the culture and the language, but to translate it back into English can be a challenge, because it’s not exactly word for word, much the same as you mentioning 150 words per minute, and you having to change around the wording for a video.

I was sent a video and asked to just give some feedback from a sales and marketing point of view, and it was about 15 or 20 minutes long, but it was very much from the sellers, “I’m selling to you”, it was from their perspective.  So, I gave my feedback and just said, “Look, I’m confused.  I don’t know what it is that you’re actually trying to tell me.  This might work if you’ve got a two-way conversation going on, but you’ve got not got somebody coming back to you, so you’ve got to think about what that journey is, that attention, interest, desire and outcome that you want, so that you keep people engaged right the way to the end”.

So, in actual fact, Jennie, what you’re doing is you’re not just delivering a great voiceover, but you’re kind of allowing the structure to flow.

Jennie Eriksen: Exactly, and you have to keep people’s attention.  That’s really important; that goes back to, as I was mentioning, with the pharmaceutical company, the object of the e-learning narration is to train people but to keep their attention, so you have to — each script if you like is a journey so if I get different scripts to do throughout the day, I have to look at each one and see what each individual need is and what we’re trying to achieve and to be able to have good communication with the clients so you’ve got some back and forth.

I like to, wherever I possibly can, give some input and just say, “How about this”, or, “What about that?”  Most people will say, “Yes, gosh that’s great”, because they want the end product to do what it’s supposed to do.

Wendy Harris: Because there is such a boom now in webinars and on-demand learning, if you like, do you give coaching or feedback to people who have created content to say, “How do you see this?  Is this going to be engaging enough?  Am I saying the right thing in the right place?  Are you able to help people in that kind of field who are maybe not really pushing their content, because they’re not quite sure if it’s hitting the mark or not?

Jennie Eriksen: Yeah, absolutely, yes, that’s definitely something that I do.  So, I work actually together with my husband who — he’s created a virtual event management system, so we work with a lot of people that put on webinars and seminars and such.  We’ll often get people come to us and say, “I’ve had the opportunity to be, for example, on a podcast or a webinar and I want to be able to be engaging”.  So, “I’d like to be a good podcast guest, or I’d like to speak on a webinar because there is the opportunity to maybe give an offer to what I’m selling or be asked back again but how do I do that?”

I very much sit down with clients, and we look at what they’re saying and scope out something that really works, so that they’ve got interesting information and genuinely are good to listen to; so, yeah for sure.  It’s really bringing the words on the paper to life, and it is performance; what we do is performance.  We are, if you like, selling ourselves; so, whatever we do and we go to networking meetings or we do Facebook lives, we are selling ourselves, we are wanting people to be interested in what we have to say.  So, there is a degree of performance in it and that might make people say, “Well that’s not very genuine, I want to be myself”, of course you do, but at the end of the day, we want to convey what we want to say.

There’s a lot to be said for looking at the ebb and flow of what you’re saying and often, as I mentioned before, I call them word vomiters; people that speak 900 miles at an hour at us because they want to give what we think is perceived value.  They have so much to tell us, that they tell us so quickly that we lose the information and less is actually more.  You’re actually better off saying less and peaking somebody’s interest to have a further conversation than to word vomit all over them and people just feel they don’t know what to do with the information, and the chances are they probably switched off partway through anyway.

So if you were to say to the people in the room, “What does Mary do?”  Most people are, “I don’t really know”, because most people just feel it was just too much information.  As I say, we are geared to want to provide good value, but often good value is actually giving less so that people have the opportunity to take on board your message and to listen to what it is you have to say.

Wendy Harris: I want to ask you about that one conversation that created a turning point for you and what happened next?

Jennie Eriksen: Wow, I can think of lots of pivotal conversations as I’ve mentioned before.  Part of the reason I enjoyed so much being a voiceover person was because you get to sit in a small dark room talking to yourself.  Actually, one of the reasons we moved to Tenerife, before we moved here to Norway, was actually the magazine really challenged us and I actually had a neurological problem that started in one side of my face.

Basically, before we left Tenerife, I had something called a hemifacial spasm, so half of my face started to misbehave.  I couldn’t smile properly; I couldn’t open my eye properly.  It was really, really debilitating and at the time, the only treatment for it strangely enough was actually to have an operation, which it wasn’t recommend at that time, or to actually have Botox.

Whilst people say, “Botox is that thing that people use to make themselves look good”, indeed Botox actually does have a purpose in terms of helping people with hemifacial spasm or people that have maybe dystonia or excessive sweating or whatever.  It actually has a medicinal good purpose.

Wendy Harris: As serious side to it, isn’t it?

Jennie Eriksen: Yeah, absolutely.  That was the route I took when we went to Tenerife and that as something I could have there, but we talk so much in terms of face-to-face, we talk so much in, “Smile”, or whatever.  When you can’t do those things that people take for granted, your confidence just takes a nosedive.  Working with the kids was a great outlet, although children do tend to say exactly what they mean, so I’ve had a few tricky conversations with children.  “Why does your face do that?”  “Why doesn’t your face do that?”

I think the pivotal conversation was when we came here to Norway, I’d said to my husband, “I don’t think I can continue like this.  I know that we’ve moved on in terms of technology and I know the operation is available and I know it’s available here in Norway.  It’s not without risk, there is a possibility to damage your eyesight or your hearing or even to make the situation worse”.  You get to the point where you think, “I’d rather do that and try than not try at all”.

I guess the pivotal conversation for us was, “Shall I go for it?”  To cut a very long story short, I did go for it and five years ago actually this year, I had the operation.  When I had it, there are varying degrees of success; some people are better overnight, some people will never get better, some people have two, three operations and it literally is brain surgery.

What causes the hemifacial spasm is two nerves in your brain that have lost something called the myelin sheath, so two nerves are hitting each other and that’s what causes your face to contort.  If you think of something like Bell’s palsy, where your face drops and contorts, that’s exactly as it is.  What they do is actually put Teflon in your head, so literally I do have a frying pan in my head.  They put Teflon in between the nerves.  That has to be brain surgery, so they to go into your brain area and six weeks of recovery, I was about 80% better for which I was very very grateful.  Then in the fullness of time, I then became as I am today, so pretty much sort of 95%, 97% better.

But that’s not quite the happy ever after, because when you haven’t done something for a long time, you have to learn all over again.  It’s like when people have accidents and they have to learn to walk again, I had no idea how to smile.  People do the smile thing; I had no idea how to naturally smile.  I’d learned all these different techniques on how to prop my face open, how to keep my eye open, how to pull my mouth down so it wasn’t scaring people, so to speak.  So, I literally had to start all over again.  And the reason I now can work online with people, as you and I meet, because I learned how to smile, and I learned how to be confident in myself.

So, I hope when I work with clients in terms of their messaging, that that gives them the confidence to try, because it is possible.  With little steps along the way, with momentum, we can learn to be confident online.  So, yeah, the pivotal conversation was that one, “Shall I go for it?”  And I did.

Wendy Harris: It’s that, “Would you rather”, isn’t it?  If the choice is this or this, you’ve got to be prepared to take the risk, either way, haven’t you, of doing it or not doing it?  It’s interesting because we watched over the weekend and I actually stayed up late to finish watching it, I thought, “I’ll just put it on and see what it was like”, and it’s actually based on a true story.  It’s what we call a boats film, in our house.  Can we watch a boats film?”  It was called Brain on Fire, a 21-year-old that literally her brain just stopped.

Things were not connecting, and she wasn’t remembering things, she was acting out and different things were happening to her, and it was just that one side of her brain had stopped working and it took a lot of effort and it took a lot of investigation to identify and diagnose.  But it’s like lots of things; she’s gone on as a journalist to support that particular illness that effects very few people and it’s much the same in lots of what we do, isn’t it?  It’s that we go, and we take it from a point of personal experience, because it’s what matters most to us.  We know it’s going to matter to others.

Jennie Eriksen: Exactly and this certainly gives me a good basis to help other people because even now, even five years down the line, if somebody were to make me really laugh out loud, my automatic go to, would be to put my hand in front of face.  It’s still a response that’s there, I don’t need to, but my brain still does that; it’s protection mode.

Wendy Harris: You’ve formed a habit, haven’t you?

Jennie Eriksen: Exactly, and people say they don’t feel very confident about this, and I get it, I truly do, and we all have our own journey; so, this is not a comparison that having brain surgery is worse than having this, we all have our own journey, and we all have our own foibles and stuff, it’s about a conversation with somebody.  With clients, invariably if I speak to somebody about their messaging, 99.9% of the time it isn’t about their messaging, it’s about how they feel.  You have to go backwards about how they feel in terms of being online and Zoom and then looking at their message, because invariably there is something else before that that is making them not feel congruent with their messaging so to speak.

When you feel confident and when you have a message that you feel confident with, that vibe as we spoke about earlier, that comes out and you look at people and they become expansive in the Zoom window and they become animated and there’s something about them, they just become instantly appealing.  So, whether or not we want their service or we’re looking obviously to help people, but there is just something about them that we enjoy listening to them, because everything is in alignment, their message, their body language, everything and they’re expansive, and it just becomes compelling to listen to.

Wendy Harris: Whilst we might be constricted to Zoom and online working, we can still pack a powerful punch, can’t we, Jennie?

Jennie Eriksen: For sure, and we’ve obviously had to deal with some things in the world in the last 18 months and that’s a global interrupt if you like, but we have an amazing opportunity to connect with people all over the world now.  If you have Zoom fatigue, well then you need to address why you have Zoom fatigue, but to not use Zoom to connect with people in different places when there are millions and millions of people that if you’re a service provider, you could connect with and work with.  So, I work with people not being scared to press the button and talk about what they do.

Wendy Harris: I’ve put quite a few pins in the map, but certainly I haven’t put 60 pins, so I’ve got some catching up to do.  Jennie, it’s been an absolute delight and an incredible journey that you’ve been on to get to where you are today, helping people bringing that little voice up a little in volume.  It’s been an absolute pleasure to have met you and to be able to invite you onto the show today.  We like to carry on the conversation, so I know that you’re going to get us a letter to listeners for the website, but if people want to carry on today after listening, what’s the best place for them to find you?

Jennie Eriksen: You can find me at LovelyVoice.com and the reason it’s Lovely Voice is because I couldn’t think what to call my company and years ago somebody said to me, “You do have a lovely voice”, so it’s LovelyVoice.com.

Wendy Harris: There you have it, some real great tips from Jennie on how you can improve your voiceover work.  Whether you apply that to your networking meetings and your introductions, to creating video online to share for your customers to find you.  It’s really a good idea to do your research and to practice your voiceover work for yourself.  Of course, if you don’t want to do it yourself, just in touch with Jennie; I’m sure she’ll be happy to do it for you.

Now then I’ve also had some feedback from Eric in Barry, he’s had a copy of my book and he pointed out that one of the great tips for him was on page 46.  It was where I’m saying, “What’s the reason for you to want to speak to somebody that you’ve never spoken to before?”  He’s highlighted this sentence, “Please do not expect someone to be prime and ready to purchase from you on your first call”.  Gosh, it’s one of the greatest ways to overcome that mindset of speaking to somebody and starting a relationship.  We can head over to the website and pick up the letter to listeners from Jennie, and you can also leave a review for us there too.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of my book on Amazon and I think I’ve still got a deal on the Kindle price for you.  Until next time.

 

HOW TO CONTINUE MAKING CONVERSATIONS COUNT…

We don’t want the conversation to stop there!

All of our listeners are important to us, so we would love it if you can connect with Wendy on LinkedIn and send her a message with your favourite episode!

BROWSE ALL EPISODES

paula senior YMCA

Episode 1 – Paula Senior

In our first episode, we speak to Paula Senior from the YMCA. Paula is a fund-raising officer and is currently preparing for the annual Sleepout to raise much needed funds for the night shelter, how covid has stretched them to the limits and how they have risen above the challenges faced by the homeless.

Nat schooler

Episode 2 – Nat Schooler

Can one conversation really influence where you are driven? Nat Schooler

Influence marketeer Nat Schooler joins Wendy as they chat about how important it is to produce strategic content online. Nat spends his time podcasting, writing, and driving across foreign continents for fun. However, their conversation quickly turns to the importance of building relationships with the people you want to work with. Nat places trust as the highest asset everyone should nurture.

Azam Mamujee M Cubed Tax specialist

Episode 3 – Azam Mamujee

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Managing Partner, Azam Mamujee a tax specialist with a voice of velvet.

Azam agrees that conversations count however he explains how numbers can tell a much more powerful story. He has a catchphrase “Give Azam the facts, I’ll save you the Tax”.

Jenny Procter Marketing for introverts bondfield

Episode 4 – Jenny Procter

Jenny Procter – Bondfield Marketing

Making Conversations about Marketing for Introverts Count

Let us introduce you to Jenny Procter, a marketing consultant and self-proclaimed introvert.

Jenny writes PR and communications for B2B clients and has her own podcast show, and she discusses issues around running her own business as an entrepreneur.

Andrew Deighton team coaching

Episode 5 – Andrew Deighton

Andrew Deighton – Team Coaching. Making Conversations about Teams Count. We are joined by Andrew Deighton today, who helps build and develop high-performing teams through strategy and processes in today’s remote working world.

Wendy has worked with Andrew in a second business through mentoring and knows firsthand how his advice relates to many aspects of running a business.

Nicky Pattinson sales expert public speaker

Episode 6 – Nicky Pattinson

Nicky Pattinson – Leading Sales Authority & Public Speaker. Making Conversations about Personality Count. Nicky Pattinson speaks the Truth in all she does! A northern lass who traded on the markets at the beginning of her career, similarly to your host. Now, Nicky has a best-selling book “Email: Don’t Get Deleted” and her own YouTube channel NICKYPTV.

Buckso Dhillon Wooley

Episode 7 – Buckso Dhillon-Wooley

Buckso Dhillon-Wooley – Actress, Speaker & Business Coach. Making Conversations about Self-Belief Count. A true diamond, Buckso is very much aligned with herself and the many facets of her own personality.
As an actor, speaker and coach her mission in life is to help people connect with their higher self.
Being aligned with yourself on a spiritual, physical and emotional level allows you to shine brighter in everything you touch.
Buckso Dillon-Whooley is a well known Actress, who has starred in Disney’s recent remake of Aladdin and is a long-standing actor on Coronation Street with appearances on many UK TV shows.

James Daniel Copywriter

Episode 8 – James Daniel

James Daniel – Copywriter
Making Conversations about Copywriting Count
Joining us in this episode is copywriter James Daniel.
He describes himself as ‘That old guy who writes copy – you know, the beardy one with glasses.’
We should point out there could be other old guys with beards and glasses out there!
It’s easy to like James’ style of writing because he’s a conversationalist who realizes that people don’t speak geek or tech.

Henny Maltby Digital marketing agency

Episode 9 – Henny Maltby

Henny Maltby – Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Elephant Media. Making Conversations about Digital Marketing Count. When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media…

Kim Walsh Phillips

Episode 10 – Kim Walsh Phillips

Kim Walsh Phillips owns Powerful Professionals, a business that helps empower entrepreneurs to turn clicks into cash and identifying the superpowers in others so they can fly high. Kim is an expert in social selling strategy.

Amelia Thorpe Wellbeing coach

Episode 11 – Amelia Thorpe

Amelia Thorpe – Mental Health Wellbeing Coach. Making Conversations about Mental Wealth Count. Meet Amelia Thorpe, founder of Wellbeing 360, who talks to Wendy about how important it is to give equal priority to our mental and physical health. Listening to Amelia’s story will bring a beacon of hope that we can all take charge of our own conversations which will give us back the control that slips sometimes when times are tough. Amelia is a wellbeing counsellor.

John Attridge capacity business

Episode 12 – John Attridge

John Attridge – Guiding Businesses to Reach their Full Potential by Tapping into Spare Capacity

Making Conversations about Capacity Count. John Attridge, owner of BBX turns spare capacity into value for many businesses. When you listen to John you just know there is a bigger story to this guy as his accent gives it away!
John has successfully built a business network and community to help people fill spare capacity and exchange services. It is a brilliant concept and if you’ve not come across it before yet in touch with me and I’ll tell you more. Using the BBX community helped my own business through the lockdown and has provided such a lot of support and new relationships.

Clara Wilcox return to work coaching for parents

Episode 13 – Clara Wilcox

Clara Wilcox runs The Balance Collective, Specialising in Return to Work Coaching for Parents. Making Conversations about Returning to Work Count! This is a conversation that every Mum will resonate with, juggling home and work is not simply a balancing act but a superpower!

Clara recognized through her own personal journey that the right support for Mum’s returning to work was only available from the employer’s point of view. This causes a biased approach and is not always helpful in an emotive decision-making process.

dr ivan misner bni networking

Episode 14 – Dr Ivan Misner

In this episode, Ivan and Wendy explore how conversation is the foundation of all growth and learning. How times have changed, looking back and also predicting our future generations experiences, yet communication will still be the underpin even it how that looks has changed.

Janine Coombes marketing coach

Episode 15 – Janine Coombes

Google has recognised this lady as the #1 marketing coach and her video series mixes humour with key messages, it is the lovely Janine Coombes. Janine is a marketing coach for personal brands.
In this episode, Janine and Wendy share how using the right language influences the conversations we have and how it affects our results.

Lizzie Butler presentations coach

Episode 16 – Lizzie Butler

Making conversations about presentations count! Delighted to introduce Lizzie Butler, owner of LB Communications, who met Wendy at a local online networking event and immediately hit it off. Lizzie helps you to grow your business through personal development training and how to achieve brilliant communication.

Jem hills inspirational speaker

Episode 17 – Jem Hills

Making conversations about Bullying count. Jem Hills is an inspirational speaker, trainer & performance coach.
Talking to Wendy in this episode is ex-marine Jem Hills who you might find it hard to believe was affected by bullying and a lack of confidence. As a release Jem discovered Northern dancing and practiced as a bedroom activity that later led to an accidental release of freestyle dancing at a competition. The dancing-built resilience and the foundations for the training to complete the Mud Run and onto his Elite Special Forces career.

Peter howard graphic design

Episode 18 – Peter Howard

Peter Howard runs a design studio that is ranked in the top 100 in the country and was responsible for the WAG brand. Having known Peter and his team for many years, Wendy has heard lots of his stories but knew there would be one she had not heard before.

Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater business coaches

Episode 19 – Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater

Making conversations about partnerships count. In a Making Conversations Count first, we are joined by two dynamic guests in this episode. Both Taz & Asha provide business coach services in different areas. Joining Wendy chatting about all the elements that make up a great debate. You are not going to want to miss the observations with Taz Thornton and Asha Clearwater around questioning, opinions, debate and discernment that makes for wonderful colourful conversations.

Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Hear what people are saying about the show

I love this podcast. The guests you have on all bring something new to the conversation and definitely thought-provoking.

Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.

Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.

Paula Senior

I always enjoy listening to Wendy’s Making Conversations Count podcast and admire her talent for drawing out people’s stories and getting to the heart of things for finding out what makes them tick.

We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.

It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.

Heidi Medina

Love this podcast series. It’s a great idea to have a theme of ‘pivotal conversations’ and the variety of guests from massively different backgrounds keeps it fresh and interesting.

Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.

Andrew Deighton

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