Smiling infant with twinkling eyes in a white bath towelHave you ever thought about the power of a smile?

What about when it comes to voice acting?
Find out how the simple and pleasurable act of smiling not only makes you feel better but also puts a sparkle in your voice in today’s VOX Daily.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

One of my favourite songs my grandmother used to sing to me was called When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. There’s a line in the song that goes “…when your sweet lilting laughter’s like some fairy song, and your eyes twinkle bright as can be…”
This phrase got me thinking. If eyes can twinkle, cannot the same be said for the human voice, and if so, how does that work?
The solution is simple… smile!

How Smiling Helps

Whenever you hear a voice artist smiling through their read, the world does seem to be a better place for it.
Aside from being a brilliant way to cut plosives, smiling makes you happy and has the welcome side effect of spreading joy through your instrument that affects others in a positive way.

For those in casting, the humble smile could be what determines who gets the gig. A pleasant voice bearing a genuine read buoyed by happiness just might be the “je ne sais quoi” that the client was looking for. Most people aren’t listening for smiles, but when they hear them, those reads tend to win people over because they touch the heart.

Back To The Song

Let’s take a look at these lyrics from the chorus of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. See if you can draw any parallels between the references to smiling eyes and how the lyrics might also translate regarding a smiling voice:
When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Ask Yourself:

๏ Can people hear the angels sing, or at least feel uplifted, when I read?
๏ Am I able to persuade someone’s heart to do good with my voice?
๏ Does my voice have a freshness to it that shines through when I perform?
A smile, when truly meant and heartily felt, comes across with an authenticity and warmth that money cannot buy.

Even if you don’t sound the part of a linnet bird, smiling will make an impact. As the song says, you should laugh all the while and all other times smile. Sounds like some sound advice, doesn’t it?

Your Turn

While I acknowledge that not all voice over projects will call for a particular gleam in your eye or sparkle in your voice, particularly serious works and the like, incorporating smiling into your routine can be quite beneficial for a number of reasons, both professional and personal.
How has smiling helped you when voice acting? Be sure to let us know!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
© Borkowski

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Great article! Smiling just helps to put you in a better mood – and that’s evident to other people – in how you look, act, and in the sound of your voice.

  2. Great article, thanks for posting! I work in Media Sales, and I find that when I’m on the phone with clients, the conversation feels so much more genuine when I can tell I’ve made them smile – bonus points if I hear a laugh from the other side of the phone line! HEARING a smile is infectious to jump-starting a good mood!

  3. Smiling does several things: it really DOES come through in your read, AND it stops the “pops” (you can’t pop a mic if you’re smiling)

  4. One company I worked for some years ago required customer service reps to hang a mirror on the wall above their desk and a sign just below the mirror that read, “Smile when on the phone.” CSR’s would always be encouraged to look into the mirror and smile while on the phone. It works wonders.

  5. That’s lovely, Stephanie! The Irish Eyes song brought happy memories of Galway festivals, a fabulous musician in every street doorway – I’ve pinned up a photo of our happy times there. Smiling now!

  6. Stephanie,
    Back in my DJ days there was a sign hanging in the control room that we saw every time we looked up to speak into the mic. The sign was a picture of a goofy looking guy who had hooks pulling up each corner of his mouth, forcing a continual smile. Of course it was a reminder for us to smile every time we opened the mic. All our air personalities sounded happy and the listeners caught the nuance, often commenting on our happy DJ’s.
    Don Foster

  7. I most definitely agree. Being a lifetime chorister, conductors often tell us that. Obviously, it’s even harder to smile when you’re singing. I think it is more like a way of thinking rather than just physically smiling. If the thought is there, the emotion will automatically come out your mouth…..jb

  8. As a singing teacher and voice teacher, I and can tell you that smiling helps to lift the soft palette which gives the voice a higher placement with more over tones which translates into “brighter” sound. And on the other side of the picture, as Stanislavski found, if you do an action over and over, it will cause you to feel the emotion that goes with the action – translation, if you smile more, you’ll actually start to feel happy! Either way, smiling does a body good.

  9. Janice has got it in one.
    The smile starts in the mind, the first physical appearance is at the corners of the eyes – it needn’t even reach the mouth for someone else to know and see that you’re smiling!
    Oh, my grandmother sang that song to me; everybody ought to hanve an Irish grandmother …

  10. I think the key to smiling when voicing is to know just how much to smile to bring the copy alive. No doubt, smiling can be an important component. But be careful not to smile too much lest your read sounds cheesy or too artificial. There are some voice overs where a smile would be totally inappropriate or simply not desired.

  11. Years ago, I got a TV imaging job because the promotions director at the station told me that my audition was the only one that made her smile. I remember smiling a good bit for that one. I agree that it’s important. Thanks for the reminder! I think I need to get back to smiling more.


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