Does your breathing change throughout the day?
Perhaps it does if you were suddenly surprised, or anxiously waiting for an answer to your hopes or concerns. Most of us have not considered what our normal breathing pattern is until something jolts us with sensations of rapid breathing.
To determine if you are using diaphragmatic breathing or upper clavicular breathing (mainly in your neck and shoulder area), simply stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath. If your shoulders rise, then you are not breathing with the diaphragm.
Face your mirror again:
If your stomach hand moves and your shoulders do not rise, then you are breathing with the diaphragm!
Your diaphragm allows you to take in more breath whenever necessary whereas your clavicular breathing area is shallow, limited to your space between your shoulder and collar bone area. Anxious quick breaths in the upper chest area can spiral out of control leading to severe emotional panic attacks
There are advantages if your everyday breathing method is using your diaphragm!
Although clavicular breathing is often used to catch a quick breath; your diaphragmatic breathing method has flexible multi-tasking of your overall deep breathing to help you:
Achieve deep breathing success by using your diaphragmatic breathing daily:
The way you breathe could be life changing!
If you are interested in more deep breathing exercises, please take a look in my published book: “Breathe...Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches.” I’m here to help you achieve your best breathing method.
When you speak from your heart you create a believable message and set up your listener to trust you. It must feel genuine to you and to your listeners. If your voice does not reflect that then it diverts gaining rapport with your audience.
The challenges of speaking in a monotone, speaking too quickly, or lacking dramatic skills will not promote speaking with passion. Have you ever watched a movie, play, or television show and thought that the actors sounded like they were reading lines or in some way just didn’t grab you emotionally?
Unlock your emotion to release connection to your audience.
Good Actors have been trained to zone into their natural instincts and are not afraid of sharing their deepest emotions on stage or film in the role of someone else. It’s that moment that makes you pause to soak in what you experience together.
Try these exercises to build your skills:
The link to your voice through Diaphragmatic Breathing is to speak with emotion and passion.
Your strength is in the variety that you deliver in your tone and the matching inflection and timing to fit your story or message. All of this requires reaching within your mind for the picture you see and the tools of your diaphragmatic breathing you use to colour the emotional impact.
You can achieve human connection with your presentations when you give real life examples that show you are just like the rest of mankind with struggles, hopes, and successes.
How do you learn these dramatic tools, so they gel with your performance?
It starts with learning how to use your diaphragmatic breathing as your partner that you can tap into any moment.
Remember, diaphragmatic breathing is your best tool to having the capacity to relax, to energize and to build your story, while including the pauses, building volume or becoming quiet. All this bursts forth with your charisma and passion.
If you would like some exercises to discover your emotional release to enhance your content, take a look at Chapter Six on Humanize With Heart in “Breathing…Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches” by Speech Coach, Brenda C. Smith.
Have you read the previous Blog# 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in this Series on How Diaphragmatic Breathing Is Linked to Your Voice?
The communication process of your ideas is done through clear articulation of your speech. This requires the physical movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, in contact within your mouth, your teeth, and palate (roof of your mouth) to create distinct enunciation of your words. The connection of these speech organs depends on the air-stream through your throat, mouth and teeth for your message to be heard accurately.
The sound waves are altered by your speech muscles stopping or shaping the sound you hear, as either consonants or vowels.
For English consonants it’s your tongue tip touching your alveolar ridge (gum ridge behind your front teeth) to produce t, d, n; or the air streaming over your tongue to produce s, z sounds, or the many other consonant-combinations. The consonants give the edge to your words. Without this edge your sound comes out as if you are mumbling because you don’t open your mouth widely, or move your lips to define words with distinct m, p, b; or with lips and teeth contact, such as f and v.
The English vowels give resonance to your words and the consonants give them clarity. Listeners may hear what you say but they may not understand what you say if there is no clear combination of breath, consonants, and vowels.
Your breathing is a partner re-shaping to where you place your tongue in your mouth at the upper front, middle, back, arching it up, or dropping it down. The air is rushing to accommodate around your positioning to create your sound, words, phrases, and sentences.
The Link of Diaphragmatic Breathing process to your articulators is that it provides more flexibility and volume of air space and air pressure as it changes and travels through your lungs, chest, larynx (voice box), trachea, nasal and oral cavities to exit as clearly understood words.
Improve your diction to create presence when you speak, by avoiding to speaking too quickly, having a tight jaw or little mouth movement, and you’ll improve your speaking confidence.
If you would like some exercises including a few tongue twisters so you can train your articulators as if they doing gymnastics, take a look at Chapter Four on Articulate to Attract in “Breathing…Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches” by Speech Coach, Brenda C. Smith.
Have you read the previous Blog# 1, 2 and 3 in this Series on How Diaphragmatic Breathing Is Linked to Your Voice?
The Diaphragmatic Breathing process helps you relax, focus, boost your energy, improve your speech tone and clarity. This breathing method is applied when you inhale a breath while your diaphragmatic muscle expands your lower ribs and stomach area. Then as you exhale your breath passes through the vocal folds to allow for vibration for your speech. The diaphragm returns to its former position on exhalation until you take your next breath. Obviously, you will automatically continue breathing on your next inhalation with the same cyclical process in order to stay alive.
The benefit of this process is that you will get more air space to manage than if you used only your upper shoulder neck area to breath with. The link to your voice is that you will have enough air to speak without being short of breath whether you are a professional speaker or just getting through your normal daily life.
The ability to control the amount of air you might need so you have enough air at the end of your sentence is a bonus to allow for more expression of tone to make your story or message be heard and felt by your listeners.
You can retrain your breathing style to diaphragmatic breathing with a simple exercise of practising to breathe in for four seconds, hold it for three seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Place your hands on your stomach or your sides to feel the expansion in your lower ribs as you inhale. Each day increase the amount of time your exhale your breath eventually getting comfortable to a count of ten or more.
Diaphragmatic breathing has the power to fully relax your body, mind, and the sound of your voice. This becomes a valuable tool to avoid panic attacks or feel nervous; it sets up your mind to focus more clearly; and it links to your voice becoming more flexible in expressing your ideas with a variety of tone.
If you want your voice to be energetic, vibrant and clear, consider adapting to the diaphragmatic breathing method as your core base in preparation to speaking with presence. This is your default backup system to discovering your best voice.
For more exercises and benefits of diaphragmatic breathing process take a look at Chapter one in “Breathing…Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches” by speech coach, Brenda C. Smith. She has written an easy-to-follow book with targeted exercises from beginners to advanced levels including stories of successful participants.
This blog is the first one in her series of seven steps outlining how you can go from preparation to creating presence and engaging performance. The entire series shows what is already available within you to speak with comfortable with confidence. If you found this information helpful, then please continue to read this series of more benefits that link to diaphragmatic breathing.
Hey, I wanted to let you know where there are lots more resources on how to improve your vocal impact and presentations.
There are excellent tips related to your voice so you can be speak with clarity, charisma, and drama here on my Voice Power Training Services link.
As a speech and drama coach I'm sharing a variety of techniques with you whether you are a novice or an expert speaker. Hope you find something that will spark your vocal energy.
Take a look and tell us what blog post helped you the most: Voice Power Blog
Are you a woman today in a leadership position who requires speaking as a business and forward-thinking visionary? There are three important elements that you need to project which you may not have considered, namely: voice quality, voice projection, and voice presence.
Key #1: How do your listeners respond to the sound of your voice? If you have a tone that is out of sync in pitch level, it will jar the audience to take note and distract them from your content. Your tone may sound too nasal, too hoarse, too dull, too tired, too childish, or any other extreme level. The quality of the sound of your voice can easily be checked by listening objectively to a recording of your voice, getting feedback from others, or an assessment from a voice coach. Draw the attention of your listeners with an authoritative warm voice that invites them wanting to hear your ideas, processes, or solutions. Your voice quality is the immediate first hook to your commanding the stage.
Key #2: Are you heard clearly by everyone in the room the moment you begin to speak? Are you a soft speaker, sound tense, or speak too quickly? The result of doing this undermines your expertise and makes you appear to be a weak leader. By adjusting your voice projection so you are not shouting, which could damage your vocal folds (chords), will allow your points to be heard easily by everyone. With a few vocal projection exercises that apply diaphragmatic breathing techniques like actors use can help to project your sound to the farthest point or person in the room. Understanding how to project your voice will especially help any trainers, coaches, fitness instructors, and teachers to stop straining your voice or getting laryngitis by the end of the day. You will command the stage and stay voice fit.
Key #3: Do you inspire your audience with your vocal presence or leave them feeling that it was a waste of time to listen to you? Creating vocal presence allows your audience of managers, employees, or team members to leave the room at the end with an action plan that genuinely inspires them to move forward with you. If you simply repeat facts or challenges and offer your leadership comments on it all with a voice that sounds flat, routine, or matter-of-fact, there is no room for emotional passion. Therefore, use your story or example to make your recommendations or reports come alive and be relevant to the benefits of the people you serve. Make your mind be in the moment of excitement or hope so your voice flexes with emotional rise and falls to give variety and believability to your presentation. A monotone is not inspiring but will put your audience to sleep. Infuse a variety of inflection so your audience relives your hope for the future and wants to be part of the solution. Again your breathing management will allow you to have flexible vocal engagement. You become the cheerleader of your own speech – you are the leader on the stage taking ownership with your vocal presence.
Body language and content are supreme elements to your performance speaking; but indeed, it must be balanced with your vocal impact too. You’ve worked hard to gain the leadership you deserve. Now it’s the time to go beyond the climb-up-the-ladder pinnacle and possess the stage that gives your audience a leader to look up to. Inspire with your vocal presence!
Brenda C. Smith