Presentation Skills: Don’t forget to breathe!

Presentation Skills: Don’t forget to breathe!

A common problem for anxious presenters is talking too quickly not helped by extra adrenaline resulting in shallow upper chest breathing and tension in the body.

We all know how to breathe, don’t we? But chances are unless we are musicians, singers, athletes or completed some presentation skills training, we don’t know how to control our breath – and that’s something that makes a huge difference to our presentations. After all, deep, controlled breathing is necessary for good vocal production. Once you’ve got it right, your voice will be even and you’ll be able to project more effectively. You’ll also find that your breath will last longer, so no embarrassing gasping or breathlessness. In turn, you’ll feel less nervous and more in control.

Learning how to breathe through your diaphragm is a sensible starting point.

Here’s how to achieve it:

  • Stand with your back straight, shoulders back, and feet hip-width apart.
  • Place a hand on your stomach.
  • As you breathe in through your nose, feel your hand being pushed away as your abdomen rises.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth and allow your stomach to return to its normal position.

There are many breathing exercises you can practise at home to increase breathing strength and technique. In time, controlled breathing will become second nature.

Prior to going on stage (or giving that important pitch) I always recommend you centre yourself with your breathing; a great little exercise to do this is take 3 deep breaths followed by one normal breath.

During your presentation, regulating your breathing is a great way to regulate your talking speed. If you start to talk too quickly,  take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, then a normal breath, and continue. (If you’re wearing a microphone, do it quietly – as you don’t want to sound like Darth Vader)! You can disguise this action if you want to, by taking a moment to check your notes.

Your breathing plays a huge role in the success of your presentation.  Slow and measured breathing is characteristic of control. That’s the characteristic you want. Prepared, ready and in control.

But ultimately, remember “Breathing is essential – DON’T STOP!”

Simply Amazing Training offers CPD accredited professional presentation training courses for companies and individuals.  Call me today for a chat to discuss; we recognise that all of our clients are different and have different needs when it comes to their in-house company training courses.

Team training with personality profiles

Simply Amazing Training also offers Insights Discovery (colours) personality profiles; this uses a simple, effective and usable model to understand an individual’s unique preferences, and those of the team.  If you want to give your team even more tools to be successful, or fancy a change of pace for your conference or team meeting then get in touch. I deliver “colourful” interactive workshops on Insights Discovery which are tailored to your needs and leave participants feeling inspired.


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Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 22 Oct 2014

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