What would you rather do?
- get a bikini or chest wax (gender dependent)
- speak in public
- take a long haul flight with massive turbulence
For many the thought of speaking in public is only marginally less than dying. Yes dying. Or perhaps getting the hair ripped off your body or thinking that you’re going to plunge to your death in an airborne metal tube.
Public speaking is a fine art for those who make a living getting up in front of crowds to deliver training & development workshops . An art that can be betrayed by quick, raspy breathing. Betrayed by a throat that refuses to work properly and clamps in on itself like a turtle pulling in its head.
We’ve all seen someone desperately trying to cover up their nerves only to be betrayed by breathy breathing.
Here then are three lessons for heavy breathing made easy, aka public speaking with proficiency:
- Take a drink: and I don’t mean Scotch. Rather always have water at hand. The simple task of lifting a glass to your lips will slow you down. The act of taking a drink and swallowing will relax your throat muscles and allow you to breath easier.
- Start with what’s easy: when listening to 13 year old Jordan Romero’s tale of climbing Mount Everest I was struck by the fact that it takes 70% of one’s energy just to breathe at that altitude. On more normal levels, breathing takes about 5% of our energy. When it comes to public speaking don’t waste 70% of your energy doing something that you can do in 5. Start with what’s easy. What you know best. Which leads me to ..
- Know your stuff: practice can’t make perfect because you can never predict how someone new to your content will react, no matter if you’ve presented it 5 times or 500 but if you’re confident in your material your brain will less likely slip into lizard mode where it’s only concern is fight or flight. When in lizard mode up to 25% of blood drains from your brain and heads to your hands. Why? Because your prehistoric cave person is getting to fight. Not exactly a recipe for higher level thinking and speaking. Say no to the lizard by being confident in your content. You’ll breath easier.
Practice the three simple steps above and you’ll avoid glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) and you’ll breath easier.