So far in this series we have looked at how you breathe in response to the stress of public speaking together with techniques to help you be more confident when speaking. Also how controlling your breathing helps build your audience’s confidence in you.
How about using your breathing to also help you control the conversation, control the room?
Firstly, a recap of your journey so far:
- You’ve recognised that when you stand up to speak at your meeting, or walk out to the front of the room to speak, even though your brain still thinks you are in danger of being a tasty lunchtime snack for a passing sabre tooth tiger, this is not going to happen. This is several hundred thousand years on. There are no tigers in the room
- You have practised taking a good, deep breath when you walk to the front of the room. Taking a breath. Before. You. Say. A .word
- You recognise this is helping to build your confidence in speaking, also building your audience’s confidence in you
- You have practised breathing. Not just breathing, but deep breathing. Really deep breathing.
- You have grown accustomed to the control this gives you over the pace of your delivery. Of the deeper, richer, more authoritative voice you now have thanks to diaphragmatic breathing
- You have grown accustomed to how your audience now feel more confident in you from the outset. More relaxed. More willing to listen to you rather than feeling anxious on your behalf
- You delight in how your audience find you easier to understand, easier on the ear, more comfortable to listen to. How they were more able to listen, more able to take on board, more able to comprehend you
Thanks to simply taking a good breath, you are now delivering that good, firm, warm, confident handshake. A strong first impression that sets the scene for the rest of your presentation.
Now go a step further.
Here’s the scenario.
You are in your meeting. The conversation is getting a little heated, a little fractious. You are asked a question / asked to respond to a point.
You are on the ‘phone. Similarly the temperature is beginning to rise, the voices with it.
You have two choices at this point:
- Go with the flow. Keep it moving. Fan the flames OR
- Take control
Remember that moment of control when you took a breath before speaking? How it helped capture your audience’s attention? How it helped you control the pace of your delivery?
Do the same at this point in the conversation. It is your moment to speak, so take advantage of that moment to take a moment. Take a breath to ease off the pace of the conversation, ease the tone of your voice down by a few notches.
Take control of the conversation; take control of the room.
Yet all you did was take a breath.
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