Harness the Power of Breathing to Speak with Confidence

Public speaking

This is a guest post by Steve Brown and London Speaker Bureau. Steve’s writing on various sites focuses on business related topics. Steve reminds us of a critical component of confident public speaking.

 

Speak with Confidence and Power in Public

Public speaking remains one of the biggest fears for people around the world; even some of the greatest public speakers admit to stage fright before giving a talk. There is plenty of information available on how to overcome these nerves: to practice, evaluate and fully know your material. However, there is one thing which is frequently overlooked and yet can make a powerful difference to any speech.

 

“When you own your own breath, nobody can steal your peace.” -Unknown

 

That thing is breathing. By simply controlling your breathing, you will be better able to project your voice and people will hear you. People respond to confident, positive voices and will often not register someone who is speaking nervously. To become a great speaker, follow these breathing tips:

 

Posture matters the most when speaking in front of an audience

Standing correctly allows your lungs to fill with air and makes you look taller and more confident. To do this, stand with your feet apart in line with your shoulders, put your shoulders back, your ribcage in and your arms by your side.

 

Breathe deeply to relax your voice and calm your nerves

Now that your lungs are able to be filled with air, you will need to take a deep breath. You can see the affect of this by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly button. Concentrate on your stomach moving, not your chest. Exhale and repeat until you are comfortable doing this all the time.

 

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” -Dionysius

 

Use your breath to gather your thoughts

When you are speaking the in-breath is your pause to collect your thoughts, the out-breath is the one you speak on. Let your breath out slowly as you talk and your voice will resonate around the room. Breathing out slowly ensures you have enough breath for each sentence. Be certain that you are using your stomach to breathe from; if you try to use your throat, it will quickly become sore and you may even lose your voice!

 

“I breathe in my courage. I exhale my fear.” -Jonathan Huie

 

Practice and your skills with improve with time

Your voice will actually sound different when you do this. The best way to establish you are doing it correctly is to record yourself on your cell phone and practice. The more you do it, the better it will sound and the more automatic it will become. You do not need to breathe like this all the time, but it is a useful technique if you are exercising or about to speak publically, whether to a large group or a small crowd.

 

Relax

Breathing can also be a good exercise for helping you to relax before a speech. If you feel relaxed, you will not have the nervous note in your voice and will sound more confident and in control. One excellent technique to help you relax before a speech is to yawn! Every time you yawn, your throat and jaw relax and open further than normal. Not only does this improve your ability to speak clearly, it will also help you to feel relaxed and ready. Just don’t fall asleep while doing it!

 

Control your breathing

When giving a speech, it is important to concentrate on your breathing, although not exclusively as you will forget your speech! Focusing on taking a breath at the start of each sentence and carrying it through the sentence will keep your mind from wondering how your speech is being received. In doing so, you will come across as confident and your words will be listened to.

 

“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Learning to breathe properly will benefit you in public speaking, general exercise and in many other areas of life. It can make you feel good about yourself and emit a confidence you didn’t realize you had. The difference will be visible to others. It will also make your voice sound richer and fuller, giving extra emphasis to your words.

Believe it or not, slow breathing can influence your abilities to speak in public. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you, and eventually you’ll succeed. Have confidence in your abilities to gauge attention and focus on the facts. This will help you make people interested in whatever you have to share.

 

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