Recently, at a conference I attended in London, I noticed how some speakers suffered from what I call, “the fast talking no breathing syndrome.” Have you experienced this peculiar human phenomena of breathing and talking, but then let nerves and doubts turn your breathing inside out?
Some of us, actually do not breathe for 2 or 3 sentences! It is extraordinary how we sabotage and torture are finely tuned respiratory organs.
It happened to me once (or twice!) when I was hosting a Toastmasters Contest. There were more than a hundred people in the room and my role was to introduce the contestants. After reading out the list of names and some bio info, I noticed I was breathing heavily and nosily into the microphone. I sounded like I had been running uphill for an hour. I think I made some lame joke about how exciting the line up was…..and reminded myself to get my lungs checked out.

Of course, that wasn’t necessary…all I had to do was… breathe in for 5, hold for 2 and exhale for 5 …and not talk!

-When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace – Anon

Why do people get breathless when they speak? Why do some speakers have plenty of air, and others act like their orifices are ‘out of order’?
The vicious cycle of nerves and fast speech are at the root of this stressful predicament.When you are nervous, there is a strong tendency to talk fast. There isn’t much logic in that thinking yet many of us become locked in the cycle of talking fast and hardly breathing.  When you are nervous and talk too fast there is no time to breathe…or to listen!
Once you recognise that you speak too fast and/or have too much nervous energy, the first thing you have to do is…breathe!

In fact, awareness of our breath is crucial to so many activities in our daily life. We take it for granted that we regularly take in air and survive another minute, hour or day. We often forget how our breath supports our voice…our words (and the other amazing organs we carry.) We are able to observe when someone else speaks and breathes heavily. Yet, we take for granted our own respiration.

Breathing with awareness is really simple to learn, after all, we all have the necessary apparatus! There are a multitude of breathing rituals to practise, and as many of you know, yoga is the Queen. Here is a link to one.

-If you know the art of breathing you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers – Chinese proverb

Remember, a 5 in and 5 out breathing exercise takes 8 to 10 seconds, and that equals a very powerful pause.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post titled, The Power of the Pause. Here you can read it again.

Pausing allows you breathing time, moments to inhale a breathe to take you on to the next sentence.

Enjoy your breath and watch how nerves and fast talk disappears.

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