In Pt. I of this series I went over a number of tips and tactics to deal with the fear of public speaking. One of the tactics was breathing, which sounds so simple, and is often anything but the night before, or the hour before, you are to give a speech or presentation.
Today will focus 0n a few of my favorite breathing techniques to use prior to presenting or giving a speech:
1. Three Deep Belly Breaths – Sounds like what it is. Slowly inhale through the nose for a count of 5-15 (15 is optimal). Keep one hand on your diaphragm and feel it enlarge as you inhale. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth slowly, again for a count of 5-15 seconds (15 is optimal). Repeat three times. This is awesome for the few minutes before you are actually going to be speaking. Immediately relaxing.
2. Ujjaiy Breathing - Also known as Oceanic or Victorious Breathing – it is awesome. It is a yogic breathing technique I first learned from struggling through Vinyasa yoga classes with Nicole, and now practice for 5-10 minutes every day. Similar to deep belly breathing, however this time the mouth stays closed the entire time. The best way to learn how is to watch demonstrations - here, here and here.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique (my favorite) – All you need for this is your thumb, your pinkie finger, and your nose (sounds like the start of a bad joke!). To begin, simply cover your left nostril with your left thumb, and slowly and deeply inhale for 5 seconds to start (10 is optimal). Then immediately cover your right nostril with your left pinkie finger, while keeping your left nostril pressed closed – at all times your mouth is closed as well, so at this point you are essentially holding your breathe. Again, hold for 5 seconds (10 is optimal). Then remove your left thumb from your left nostril and slowly exhale for a 10 count. Wait two seconds and repeat the same technique, inhaling through your left nostril as your right nostril is still closed, etc. I usually do 10-15 rounds of this every day, and the feeling is amazing, and very relaxing.
While not “cures”, these techniques all do a good job of reducing public speaking anxiety and fear associated with public speaking. Again, while there are no “cures” (and don’t believe anyone who tells you there are!) there are techniques and strategies to alleviate public speaking fear. Stay tuned for Pt. III…