It’s nearly time for your big presentation. Your muscles are tense, your heart is racing, you’re clenching your jaw, and you have butterflies in your stomach.
But worst of all, the stress is causing you to breathe in shallow spurts, making it difficult to project your voice, which induces even more stress. In order to project your voice so that others can hear you, you need to breathe naturally.
Here are two quick breathing practices to help you calm your breathing before your next presentation.
2. Inhale slowly while counting to 5
3. Exhale slowly while counting to 5
Repeat this exercise several times.
2. Inhale until you cannot inhale any more air
3. Exhale slowly while counting out loud
Repeat this exercise several times. Each time, attempt to count to a higher number. Do not speed up your counting in order to do so.
The purpose of these exercises is to improve the placement of the air you inhale and to increase air capacity. The key to both of these exercises is keeping your shoulders from moving up as you inhale. Quite often, when we take deep breaths we tend to pick up and drop our shoulders as we inhale and exhale. Raising your shoulders actually forces you to take shorter breaths. When you inhale, place your hand directly above your stomach. You should feel the air first filling your diaphragm and then your chest. If you raise your shoulders when you inhale, you are only filling your chest cavity with air.
Once you’ve mastered these two breathing exercises, your pre-presentation jitters will be significantly reduced. Now you’ll be calm and focussed and ready to perform at your best.