As a small local business, you may from time to time occasionally need to record your voice for use in advertising or t communicate with your customers. To actually produce commercials, you will obviously want to use the services of a paid professional. If you're thinking it might not be all that hard to produce a professional 30-second recording you're more than welcome to give it a shot for free using Audacity. This software was recommended to me by a friend who is a professional broadcaster, and It has most of the very basic features used by broadcasters and podcasters who know what they're doing. I tried that, and all it did for me was to give me a sincere appreciation for professional broadcasters and podcasters.
But what if the professional has asked you to send them an MP3 of your voice - reading something, or explaining what you do? This has happened to me a couple of times, and I've found that sometimes these professionals forget what it's like to seriously know NOTHING about voice recording on a computer. Here's a quick way to get a "decent" recording that a professional can work with, or that is adequate to include as a "casual" recording of your voice.
1) Download MP3myMP3, and use the default settings until you've had a chance to practice a little.
2) Get in a quiet room with no echo. No, don't use the bathroom, just because you like the way you sound in the shower - everyone will know you're in the bathroom. Just use a bedroom or your office, or any other quiet room.
3) Use a headset with a microphone if possible. You CAN use the microphone built into your computer if necessary, but you'll be happier with the results that you'll achieve with even an inexpensive headset.
4) Use notes, but don't read your entire script. If you read the entire script, you'll sound like you're reading. Most of us tend to focus more on getting the words right instead of actually communicating. See if you can just make a general outline of what you want to say, then practice a few times if necessary, until you can easily say what you want to say in a way that sounds natural.
5) Make sure you know where the "record" and "stop" button are. The record button is a red circle and the stop button is a square. Having a lot of unidentifiable noice and throat clearing before your recording or mumbling about "how do I turn this thing off" at the end of the recording is not professional, and is an easy mistake to avoid. As soon as I hit record, I usually move my mouse to the "stop" button, so I don't have to try to remember where it is once I'm through talking.
6) Save your file as an MP3 unless another has been specifically requested.
7) Your file is ready to e-mail or post.
8) If you need to embed your file on a website, PodBean will allow you to host your files with an embed code for your website. The basic service is free.