How you breathe when speaking is critical to your success

ByRick Deutsch

How you breathe when speaking is critical to your success

As a public speaker, you need to be skilled in all aspects of your delivery. Do you record your talk and listen how you come across? What I mean is you can tell an amateur by listening to their breathing.

If they are in a hurry, you can clearly hear a large “whoosh” as they inhale. I key off of this and shake my head. I tend to miss the message and feel like the person has not had voice training.

Listen to radio commercials…. the kind where they are going 80 mph to get you to hear their plug for roofing, windows or such. Because the sponsors have a low budget, the spots are aired without much editing. Perhaps the reader ran through the content a few times, then went live to the recording.

Listen as they inhale through their lips. A whoosh attacks your ears. Do you do that?

If you follow my drift, here’s how to correct it.

BACKGROUND READING:  More on breathing

If you are doing a recording….download a simple audio editor. (Google that.) There are many free ones. You only pay if you want more features. You can highlight the waveform and look at the spots that are where the whoosh appears. Highlight it and bring down the intensity or just clip it out. This eliminates the noise….you can fill in with silence if you want it to flow smoothly.

If you are in front of an audience, try to breathe using your diaphragm, not your throat. Be deliberate and conscience of what you are doing. Don’t be in a hurry.  Try quietly gulping the air and not have it sail down through your voicebox. Don’t raw inhale like you are smoking. Rather, bite the air and get a good shot in.

Lastly, just slow down. Stop a second between sentences and quietly breathe in. Give your audience a break. It is not a speed-speaking contest. A longer pause really enhances your talk. You will find that when you pause, any chattering audience members will hear the silence and shut up!  Write this on your palm:  “SLOW DOWN.”

Rehearsal is how you master this. Video yourself and get others to listen to you. Ask for their candid opinions. The whoosh can be as annoying as saying uh, uh, a lot. or fiddling with your hands or change in your pocket.

Look professional and you will be respected as such.

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