Breathing and speaking are closely intertwined.
Adopting proper breathing techniques will help you get your point across in a more meaningful way. After all, the point of communication is to be understood.
This is especially true for second language learners operating in the business world.
How does breathing affect our speech?
- With or without a microphone your volume is important when speaking as it helps you to place emphasis on the words or phrases that are most important.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing (belly breathing) helps you to avoid throat speaking. Your speech will be more powerful and impactful. Your voice won’t tire easily and you’re less likely to get a sore throat 🙂 .
Rate of Speech
- The ability to express your thoughts quickly or slowly depends on your breathing pattern. We speak on exhalation. Therefore, if you inhale longer, you can produce more words, thoughts and expressions when you exhale.
- If your phonology (sound patterns) is impeded then the ability to articulate oneself will prove difficult. Proper breathing practices will allow you to control your airflow when you speak. You will reap positive health benefits as well.
What does this have to do with Confidence ?
Research has indicated that at least 75% of people experience speech anxiety before a presentation. I know for certain that I do and I am a native English speaker. Many of my students do as well even though they are experts in their field. Public speaking is nerve racking plus when coupled with a language that is not your native tongue. Altogether, it can surely decrease your confidence and have a direct impact on your speaking skills.
A Simple Breathing Exercise
- Sit in an upright position and place your hands right below your ribs.
- Take a deep breath in and count 1,2,3 in your mind.
- Exhale on the same 1,2,3 count.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least twice.
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