Most people have heard Garrett Gardner speak at some point in their lives. They just didn’t realize it. While a student at Xavier, the 1967 psychology graduate picked up some tuition money by performing the voices of a number of Saturday morning cartoon characters for several major production companies. He also sang backup vocals for numerous groups at Cincinnati’s fabled King Records and appeared on the popular television show “Midwestern Hayride.” When he was 8 years old, he sang with his father’s band and by age 10 was a regular on a television show hosted by country singer Jimmy Dean.
Gardner knows how to get the most out of his voice, so it’s not surprising he now helps others get the most out of theirs. His Kansas City-based company, Full Voice, trains businesspeople to communicate more effectively, whether speaking in front of a group, one-on-one or over the phone—skills Gardner says are often overlooked until an individual reaches a certain rung on the corporate ladder.
“I’m dealing with people who speak in cartoon voices,” he says. “They’ve developed a voice not their own because of the group, culture or part of the country they grew up in. Those are all cartoon voices. What I do is get people to their proper pitch so they can then be who they are. The world remembers who you are, not who you sound like.”