Most of us tend to breathe shallowly. Take a moment to check this in yourself. Place one hand on your abdomen and another on your upper chest. Do you feel your abdomen rising and falling? If so, you are breathing deeply and properly. If this breath is paired with our speech, a clearer, resonant and confident voice emerges. Most of us, however, breathe and speak from our upper chest and lungs. This produces a shallow and quieter voice, leading to other problems for some like mumbling, which happens when the words are not articulated clearly, become joined incorrectly and the correct pacing is lost. This leaves the listener asking you to repeat and feeling confused in your message. This does not result in confidence for you as a speaker, or them as a conversational partner. Take charge of your voice and improve your communication (and your life) through the below exercises.
The videos below will take you through a process to improve your voice through breathing exercises, tips on testing your new skills, and a video of a before and after client success story.
How can I get an even deep breath?
When we breathe deeply, our body remains steady. Our shoulders will not move up and down, instead, our abdomen will expand, and our breath will pass over the vocal cords with a steady force, bringing a more natural speed and pace to our delivery. Pair these breathing skills with a good, straight posture (do not bend over tables or bend your neck down), will improve the clarity of your voice over the phone, leading to more productive client conversations.
Begin the video at the 2 minute 20 second mark.
What are the steps of this breathing process in more detail?
Start watching this video from minute mark 1 minute 50 seconds to see a more detailed step-by-step description of this breathing technique.
How can I test this out? How do I know if I am doing it right?
In addition to assuring you are not moving your shoulders up and down, standing sideways and looking in a mirror can help you to see if your diaphragm is expanding and collapsing as you breathe. The video below demonstrates this test.