The Biggest Public Speaking Game-Changer is Nothing New – or Is It?

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018


Let’s first assume that you know your content really well and now want people to fully  appreciate all the hard work that went into creating it.  We’ve all heard the buzz words ‘personal presence’ and ‘the power of the pause’, and for good reason.  But what’s underneath our ability to bring these things about and manage the moment is taking time to breathe – effectively.  Underscore effectively.  

What does this mean?   Breathing is something our body does naturally to keep us alive.  An adult at rest breathes on average 16 times per minute, that’s 960 breaths an hour, or about 23,040 times a day  Yet it can be the single most difficult thing to do when under stress and we need it most.

When under stress, our throat, neck, ribs, diaphragm, belly muscles, and pelvis can all freeze up, leaving us helpless to manage our nerves in the moment.  Practicing effective breathing techniques when not under stress will make it easier to control the high stakes situation.

I have often seen people demonstrating breathing exercises by inhaling noisily and raising the chest and shoulders.  None of these things should happen.  When we make noise while breathing in we’re creating an obstruction, which means we’re adding tension right into the breath that is supposed to calm us down!

Breathing for optimum impact should relax the shoulders, throat, jaw, release the diaphragm downward with the belly, and be absolutely silent.  It brings us deep inside while connecting us to the best of who we are, away from the noise and mental clutter.  It is from this place that we are our most powerful. 

Find it challenging?  Don’t worry, I have spent weeks at times getting stressed-out, jet-propelled people to go there and stay there.  And like any other physical exercise, it takes time and needs constant reinforcement, but gets easier and faster to master.  Developing an effective breathing technique is a nuanced exercise and also the single most rewarding tool in your arsenal. 

So what are some of the benefits of developing Effective Breathing techniques?

1.  Effective Breathing invites you to get out of your head and into your body where you are better able to manage nerves

2.  Effective Breathing allows you to relax your throat and diaphragm so that your voice can be stronger and more confident

3.  Effective Breathing gives you time to better formulate the answer you want rather than shooting from the hip and regretting it later

4.  Effective Breathing helps to clean up your content by replacing nervous filler works such as "uh", "um", "so", etc.

5.  Effective Breathing gives you space and time to get more air and relax your pacing

6.  Effective Breathing gets you grounded and gives you gravitas

And no equipment necessary!  I could go on and on and on and on ….  what’s not to love?


Want to learn more?  Connect with me!



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