If you’ve ever had a shaky voice… if you’ve ever felt butterflies on the stomach… if you’ve ever felt your throat tighten and breathlessness kick in… Then you know what it’s like to ‘not breathe properly’!
High quality breathing is critical when delivering a Best Man Speech. Partly this is because it helps reduce the adrenaline and settle the ‘nerves’. But it also helps ensure a strong platform for your voice, reduce the shakes and enable you to speak with confidence and assurance.
Speakers who use their voices well by definition come across as more authoritative, simple as that!
The question is, how to do if?
Years ago, poor quality breathing when under pressure was my biggest delivery challenge. But the real problem was that I didn’t realise I was breathing poorly!
Take a deep breath right now. Go ahead…
Notice where your shoulders and chest went. There’s a good chance your chest expanded a bit and your shoulders rose up a bit.
If so, then there’s work to do – read on.
This may feel like a deep breath – but it isn’t. Quality deep breathing is done using the diaphragm or ‘with the stomach’ not by the chest.
I know this because I took expert advice from a long-standing school friend of mine who is a professional opera singer. Trust me – he knows what he’s talking about.
The trick is to tip your chin down… Right down as if trying to touch your Adam’s Apple.
If you’re standing up or sitting up straight, this will straighten up your body and airway – and help cue your body to use the diaphragm deep down. Put your hand just over your belly button and as ou breathe in you should feel your stomach expand a bit.
Yes, you’ll get fatter for a moment… but when you release the breath and breathe out, notice you immediate get slimmer again!
This method is the key to effective breathing. No doubt about it.
Shortly before you stand up to speak, tip your chin down and repeat this exercise a few times, nice and slowly. It will help settle the adrenaline and crucially, it will relax your muscles higher up in your chest and neck.
This reduces butterflies, gives your voice resonance and lessens the likelihood of croaking.
Well, crack on and speak soon…