If you’ve been in one of our workshops where you were practicing your coaching, your communication skills, or your executive presence, you’ve probably heard me comment about your (or someone else’s) breathing. You’ve probably heard me mention some of what is in this tip, the 10/15/15 Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day.”
Breathing plays a big role in how you sound. The ability to harness your breath is critical when you’re speaking up in a meeting or giving a speech or presentation. To speak with more confidence and power, focus on your breath. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms up over your head. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale, slowly lower your arms down to your sides. Make sure your shoulders are back, not hunched. This is the best posture for speaking: you are standing tall, owning your full height, and resonating confidence. Put one hand on your belly button and one hand on your chest. Breathe deeply and notice which hand moves. Keep your chest steady and breathe into your stomach. Then exhale slowly, and speak “on the breath.” Also, make sure to use your breath to support your words by letting it out steadily while you are speaking.
Adapted from “Breathing Is the Key to Persuasive Public Speaking,” by Allison Shapira.