As a public speaking coach, I am bombarded by questions about how to combat nerves. My stock answer, especially if I’ve never seen the questioner speak in public, is “Breathe.” When nerves strike, your chest constricts, making breathing difficult. You will begin to rush, trying to push out as many words as possible in one shallow breath---killing comprehension in your listeners. Your volume will run to one extreme (too high) or the other (too low). You can’t catch your breath, which increases your nervousness, which constricts your chest further, a vicious cycle begins, and you can devolve into a full blown panic attack. (Gasp!) Or you can pause. Just for a second, and take a deep breath, pulling your diaphragm down and filling your lungs. Your chest muscles will release, you can gather your senses about you, and you can take control of the stage. There are other, more complex answers, specific to the various manifestations of your nervousness. But the first step is always, “Breathe.”
I wrote the above post on LinkedIn several years ago. And it still holds true. Since then, however, I've read Breath by James Nestor, a fascinating book about an instinctive act we all take for granted, but that we are all doing wrong. Then, I had the opportunity to work with the amazing Perrin White and BreatheWell BeWell. I met her after connecting via Instagram and learning about the great work she is doing to help restore physical, emotional, and mental health through breath. After meeting for coffee and talking, we realized the strength of the connection between breath and communication--for confidence, for projection, for preparation...the list goes one. We are joining forces to put together a workshop on understanding your breath and its effect on communication, offering some action steps to harness the power of breath and give power to your voice.
Stay tuned for more information as we continue to make plans to launch this program in January 2023.
Learn more about Perrin's business at https://www.breathewellbewell.info
More information on James Nestor and can be found here: https://www.mrjamesnestor.com