Breathing and your speech: the importance of oxygen

Importance of breathing supplies during a speech

Oxygen is life - it gives life. A person can live for days without water and/or food, but most of us cannot hold our breaths for more than 30 seconds. Without oxygen, our bodily functions stop because oxygen it is your life support.

When you are out of oxygen supplies, you can hardly speak; that is a practical example of how important oxygen is in speech. Your voice changes when you are short of air. It is no wonder that breath is so vital for a clear mind and for relaxation.

Take yoga as an example. Aren't people who practice yoga just so calm and peaceful? That's what good rhythmic breathing does for our minds.

Take a breather

breathing and relaxation; oxygen is life, air supply in public speaking

Correct breathing

No air, no speech

When it comes to inhaling and exhaling, we adults can learn a lot from babies. Have you ever watched a baby breathe? Have you discovered how their little 'tummies' move visibly when they breathe? Babies breathe the correct way; they simply know how to do it. With us adults, we tend to take short, shallow breaths. It's almost as though we are scared of inhaling and exhaling optimally.

Oxygen supply and speech: How oxygen or a lack thereof affects your speech

When we take deep breaths prior to an address or a presentation, not only do we allow our hearts to beat better and nicely, but we also tend to feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We feel calmer and in better control of ourselves. Like we have taken in some inspiration and taken out all the tension, stress and fears we had.

Lack of air during a presentation/address can cause negative changes to your voice. Your voice could make wheezing sounds and/or become squaeky. Learn how to control your breath, and you have learned how to control your feelings and emotions during a public speech.

Breathing exercises

Exercise your vocal chords

Deep controlled inhalations and exhalations form an important part of relaxation. Good breathing controls, techniques and application should be exercised for a powerful speaking voice and a powerful, well-controlled speech. Not only do we need to do this prior to a speech, but most importantly during the speech as well. Clear your mind and feed your concentration levels with these 'lung' exercises.

Sit firmly on a comfortable surface or on a chair. Slowly fill up your lungs to capacity, within comfort. Hold your breath there for a couple of second (10 - 20 seconds). Then exhale the air slowly. Repeat this exercise a number of times.

During your speech or presentation, don't forget to give your mind constant supplies of fresh air and a constant release of tension. You'll feel better each and every breath you take.

Breathing has a direct influence on your voice, especially if you have vocal defects or stammering

Inhale and exhale to manage your stress levels and to lift your mood and confidence

Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to relax

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