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  • Writer's pictureLiza Engel

The Power of Your Breath - Empowering Your Speech

While exploring our diet's profound effects on our mental and physical health, I stumbled upon a documentary featuring a researcher captivating a large university audience with groundbreaking findings. However, her message was nearly overshadowed by her struggle for breath, a clear sign of nervousness that rendered her voice shaky and her delivery less impactful than it could have been.

Public speaking transcends mere communication—it's an art that offers the power to share insights, shift perspectives, and drive meaningful change.

Yet, this art is often compromised by the fear-induced physiological reactions that can leave even the most seasoned speakers gasping for air. Today, I'm diving into this common fear, offering strategies to not only face it or overcome it but to use it to empower you, ensuring your message reverberates powerfully without being lost in the struggle for breath.



Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash


Understanding the Root of Our Fear

Facing an audience triggers our innate fight-or-flight response, increasing heart rates and shallower breaths. In public speaking, the battle isn't against an external threat but against our control over breath—a loss of control, preparedness, and, ultimately, the connection with our audience.


The Ripple Effects

Failing to manage this fear can significantly impact the quality of your speech, affecting its pace, tone, and clarity. This fear undermines your confidence and can divert your audience's focus from your message to your evident discomfort, creating a barrier to effective communication.


Strategies to Triumph Over Breathlessness

  1. Incorporate Deep Breathing: Integrate deep breathing exercises into your daily routine, particularly during those brief moments of waiting, to train your body to breathe more efficiently. This practice steadies your nerves and ensures you're well-prepared to control your breath during your speech. (Check out the 4-point breath exercise in my previous post.)

  2. Strengthen Your Core: Rekindle your New Year's resolution and commit to regular exercise focusing on your core. A strong core is crucial for effective breath control, enhancing your vocal power and stage presence, not to mention the added benefits of improved posture and a confident smile.

  3. Mind Your Pacing: Rushing through your presentation is a common pitfall. Intentionally pace your speech, incorporating pauses for breath and allowing your audience time to digest the information presented.

  4. Leverage Strategic Pauses: Pauses are not mere breath-catching moments but powerful rhetorical devices. Use them to emphasize points, adding weight to your message and allowing yourself time to breathe.

  5. Prepare Relentlessly: Confidence comes from familiarity. Master your material to reduce on-stage thinking, allowing you to focus on delivery and breath control.


Mastering breath control is integral to the art of public speaking. You equip yourself to deliver speeches with confidence, clarity, and impact by addressing the fear of breathlessness. You aim to be heard so that your voice resonates, inspiring your audience and ensuring your message is memorable and transformative.


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