PROPER BREATHING FOR PUBLIC SPEAKING
By NICHOLAS C. HILL(FIC FInstLM)
Public speaking is both an art and a science.
As an art, this activity allows us to exhaust all the wonderful gifts and potentials of language, permitting us to employ poetry and performance at the same time.
As science, public speaking prompts us to maximise specific strategies that have been found out to sufficiently contribute in the overall success, and efficacy of the practice.
Proper breathing is one such strategy.
Breathing, within this context, does not merely refer to the act of taking in and letting out of air or oxygen. For breathing to optimise a person’s public speaking skills, it has to emanate from one’s belly— also known as diaphragmatic breathing.
Unlike shallow breathing which is observably hasty and, oftentimes, uneven, diaphragmatic or belly breathing enables our lungs to expand fully, thus creating a full storage of air. This rhythmic expansion of the lungs and abdomen then results in a number of advantages.
Public Speaking is a skill that can be nurtured by attending good leadership and management training however, here is a list of benefits that you can obtain from utilising a proper breathing strategy:
1. Decreased heart rate
Public speaking can be a daunting and a nerve-wracking exercise as it is. With improper breathing, this activity becomes even more strained. With a proper breathing exercise though, we are able to regulate our heart rate, which consequently enables us to become considerably more relaxed.
2. Improves oxygen circulation
The importance of efficient oxygen circulation can never be underestimated when it comes to sustaining healthy bodily functions. The same principle can be applied to public speaking. The better the flow of oxygen in our body, the more oxygen is able to reach our brain, thus facilitating improved cognitive and mental processes. Obviously, with activities like public speaking requiring utmost attention, focus, and mental clarity, among many others, optimum brain performance is of the essence.
3. Enhances posture
Public speaking is affected not only by the speech we wrote or learned by heart, another crucial contributor to the success or failure is how we carry ourselves on the stage or behind the podium. Our physical stance is one of the most influential non-verbal cues which we can send across to our audience. It can either say we know what we are saying and that we must be taken seriously, or we have been unwittingly thrown in the midst of a battle, which we could never win. Proper breathing allows us to stand in such a way that communicates the former, as opposed to the latter.
4. Affects authority
When addressing an audience, whether one comprised of familiar faces or relative strangers, it all boils down to one’s sense of command, authority and leadership skills. Public speaking becomes a futile act, when the speaker never gets to claim his or her audience’s attention and interest. One way to ensure that one’s audiences listen voluntarily is to have a voice that says, “I am in charge”. You can achieve this goal, through proper breathing.
5. Facilitates articulation
Communication, after all, is at the core of public speaking. It should foster comprehension among one’s audience, and this can only be done through masterful articulation of words, phrases, and sentences. With proper breathing, we get to do this more effectively since our speech is guided by the exact rhythm of our breathing.
Develop your presentation skills today. To learn more: http://nicholashill.com/training-courses/nlp-leadership-development/presentation-skills/
Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com