It does not seem possible that this one commonality exists among so many people in public speaking. Whether it is for the presentation or the speech, it happens quite frequently and is both visible and audible to an audience. It may only occur in the opening; although, it often continues throughout one’s delivery. Without it, it is sometimes difficult to be heard. Do you have an idea what I am talking about?

It is called breathing. It is something we never think to do. And yet, it is something we cannot do without. When you fail to breathe in speaking, your voice may trail off at the end of the sentence. Or possibly you speak more quickly in order to say more words before taking your next long, hard breath, trying to regain what you have lost.

What is happening when speaking with limited air is that you are increasing your stress and anxiety. While you probably do not experience breathlessness in normal conversation, why does it happen in public speaking? If you are not breathless in normal conversation, then it means that you are supplementing your air supply: you are interrupting your speech to take in air. What this means is you are not waiting until the end of your sentence in order to breathe.

Might I suggest the exact same scenario at the lectern? If you are able to supplement your balloon of air when talking to friends, family or colleagues, why are you unable to supplement your air when addressing an audience?

By allowing yourself to take that breath, you will feel better and your audience will appreciate the pause. To speak endlessly without a break is tiring for you but also tiring and trying for your listeners. They need that brief pause in order to categorize or organize their thoughts.

If you think you are not allowed to pause during a formal presentation, I beg to differ. If you have any life, any color, any emotion when you are speaking, then you can pause almost anywhere in a sentence.

In the following example, try pausing after the word unable. (Be sure to use some expression as you say these words.)

The dog was unable ^ to climb the stairs.

You could actually pause after any one of those words. However, if you speak in a monotone, it will not work.

Don’t forget to breathe in public speaking. You will feel more relaxed as will your audience. Remember, without air, there is no voice.

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