Why Breathing is So Crucial in Speaking/Presenting?
Oh…and everything else!
Breathing, it’s the thing you say you are going to remember to do when you start speaking or doing your pitch or hit record on the video…I hate to tell, you might not and that’s not because you don’t have great intentions, it’s because you won’t remember.
I’ve been teaching people how to make a massive impact with their voice for a long, long time. I’ve studied the voice, taught about the voice, listened to voices and I know one thing above all other…the breath is everything when it comes to making an impact with your voice and captivating an audience, much less connecting with them.
First, let’s get past the obvious benefits of breathing. Breathing relaxes you and it slows you down. If you are nervous and you have a constant flow of breath, it will relax you and you will present better and you won’t be as nervous, end of story. Breathing will also slow you down in terms of pace. If you tend to go fast, when nervous you will go faster. If you speak at a moderate pace, when you are nervous, you will go faster. Breathing, consistently when speaking will slow you down which means your audience will be able to understand you and follow you, not check out and think about something else.
Now, let’s talk about a few things you might not have known but are game changers in speaking, all speaking. First, a little background. Research and my own personal experience over the years show that people don’t breathe. We do, of course because we would die if we didn’t, but we don’t really breathe. Our muscle memory has been trained to hold the air in or dump it out as fast as we can. What this means is that before you speak you probably either dump your air out and speak on nothing or you hold it in and don’t let it out and speak on nothing. Or both! This is laid into your muscle memory, you do it without even thinking about it and it’s because breath is linked to vulnerability. The result of this dumping or holding air compounds and is possibly the key reason you aren’t’ making the impact you want to make or the connections.
So, by holding or dumping your air several things are happening. The breath is the fuel to the vocal variety like gas is to the car, without it, you can’t get very far. You know how when you speak or when you’’ve heard others speak and they go really fast and try to shove the words out of their mouths as fast as they can and then they gasp for breath when they stop and start all again? That is not having enough fuel, that is what happens when you dump or hold. Again, we have tremendous speed but we also have unsupported words that have no meaning being hurled at us at rapid speed because the speaker has no air. When this happens, it’s because we’ve trained ourselves not to connect to the breath, to not let the air out and so we think we have to hurry and say all the words and then take the breath in between.
So, if you have no air to support your voice, you can’t get very far, you can’t make an impact by bringing the words to life or connecting (I’ll talk about that next). The air is necessary to infuse the words with the vocal orchestra of varied sounds such as high/low for example. No air, no variety, no impact.
But, here’s the biggest problem of all. Breath, connected to the words is where vulnerability lies. Our sub-concious mind knows that and has shut us off from our air, that is why have trained ourselves to dump the air or hold it in and breathe in between words. What becomes key is that we learn to breath throughout our speaking, throughout the sentences and that we let the air out with the words, not dump it before we speak or hold it in until after the words come out. This is breath and voice regulation and it’s the most powerful way to connect with an audience. If we connect to the breath, words and sounds, we become vulnerable, we speak in our true voice and we connect mind/body and voice. When we are completely connected we are able to step into our passion, our authenticity and vulnerability. When we are in the space of connection and vulnerability, words and breath, we make the impact we want to make, we make the connection, teach the lesson beyond measure, change lives and make sales.
But, this constant breathing, connecting to the words, letting the air out with the words it is something that we have to learn because we have re-train the muscle memory. You won’t remember to breathe because you are thinking about other things, end of story. But, if you train yourself to breathe, all the time, connecting to the words, you won’t even have to think about it, it will just happen and you will have the power, the fuel to make the impact you want on the audience.
To learn more about breathing, visit www.captivatetheroom.com