Want to calm your nerves while speaking to an audience?
Do you know the easiest, simplest and most inspiring Soft Skill to use?
Focus on breathing more while serving each listener and marvel at the extra more power and believability you will have to inspire others into action!
Most everyone gets a bit nervous when speaking in front of an audience. There are many tricks and skills used by us professionals to calm our nerves, but by far the simplest, easiest and most inspiring is the simplest; just take an inspiring breath.
“Make every breath a joy”
My dear friend Don McFarland once said this and that little sentence changed my life. Now, how much fun do you dare to consciously have while breathing? More importantly, do you notice the effect?
Even though the word “inspire” comes from Latin and literally means to breathe in spirit, just taking in more air will help. Our voice is a physiological wind instrument. Just like a saxophone, flute or trumpet, it works more efficiently and sounds more inspiring when there is lots of air flowing through it.
Try this: Sit or stand up straight, take a few deep, relaxing and joyous breaths and before saying anything see how much more inspiring you feel. Starting from the top of your third deep breath, just easily say your name and the words, “I am inspiring”. How does that sound?
You may notice that more of you began to resonate with your message. Just like that wind instrument or a violin, more of the instrument (you) was vibrating with the tone of your message. Did you notice that the deeper and richer the tone of your voice becomes the more attractive and believable it sounds? Just this deeper and richer sound of your voice probably helped put you more at ease, but did you also notice that those deeper breaths also calmed you down?
Ask anyone what the most common way to relieve stress is and most will say, “take a deep breath”. Yet how often do we forget this sage advice when standing there, in front of an anxious crowd? If there is one thing you can easily do before, during and after you speak it is to consciously take a few more breaths. Those lovely little punctuation marks such as a period, question mark, comma and semi-colon are wonderful places where you can stop speaking and take in an extra joyous breath. In fact, you may be surprised to find that taking a relaxing pause to inhale two or three times while, for instance, asking a question or making a powerful point, may actually turn out to be fun.
Learning to breathe calmly and enjoyably while speaking in public may sound dull, but if it does then maybe you have yet to really take your first inspiring breath… And don’t forget, if you would rather not inspire your audience by breathing more, that’s OK.
There is another option that your audience may appreciate more.
Send them an E-mail.
Here’s to more inspiring and engaging presentations!