Breathing is autonomic, and you might think you've got a pretty good handle on it. When it comes to public speaking, however, learning how to breathe properly is critical.
Image: Basilio Briceño
Allison Shapira is a former Opera singer, and that's a trade that relies heavily on breathing techniques to deliver the right notes for the correct length of time with the best possible projection.
Which, is, essentially, the secret to public speaking as well.
Writing at Harvard Business Review, she notes that proper breathing technique can be likened to sushi:
"I like to use a sushi analogy. Picture a piece of sashimi: a thin slice of fish over a bed of rice. Think of your voice as the fish, and your breath as the bed of rice. In order to support the voice, you need a constant, full breath of air through the entire sentence. What happens when the fish is longer than the rice? It flops over — and that’s exactly what our voice does when our breath trails off at the end of the sentence, creating vocal fry. So when you speak, practice exhaling slowly while speaking and letting your voice resonate with a full, supported sound."
Breathing Is the Key to Persuasive Public Speaking [Harvard Business Review]