“I don’t like the way I sound.” is a common complaint I receive from timid toasters followed by, “And there isn’t anything I can do about.” Wrong. You can quickly and easily transform potential shame into brilliant fame when you learn how to breathe.
What Goes Up
Audiences tend to tune out talkers when they hear high-pitched voices. The sometimes schrill sound is associated with being apprehensive, anxious or afraid. There are a few infamous exceptions like Victoria Jackson, Fran Dresser, Richard Simmons and Mike Tyson who can get away with the squeak, but most listeners can only tolerate the whine in small doses.
If you rarely stand up and speak before a crowd you may feel nervous or rushed – real or self imposed – and your body will respond with a tiny squirt of adrenaline, which forces your body to take a short breaths before you speak causing your “normal” voice to turn up, high and tinny.
Must Come Down
When you harness your lung’s language you will be able to produce the tone you desire. There are many different deep breathing exercises to counter act the adrenaline and I this two-step techinque is my favorite.
1. Breath in quickly through your nose and fill your lungs for three seconds.
2. Exhale through your mouth and push up with your stomach muscles for six seconds.
I prefer this method because it can be completed in secret. I do this before I take the stage or on my way to the microphone – even when all eyes are on me. It appears that I am merely collecting my thoughts before I begin.
This simple two-step process also releases nervous energy and puts you back in command of your voice with more control, power and energy.
Yes, breathing is basic, but it’s frequently overlooked. Proper air exchange is essential for the occasional toaster or professional speaker and an easy habit to learn. Once mastered you will control the flow of oxygen naturally allowing you to breathe and be brilliant.
Your turn: What breathing techniques do you like to use and why?