Voice Training: Breath Holding

March 1st, 2018

Public Speaking: Just Get Through It

September 6th, 2017

Speaking Skills: Slowing Your In-Breath

December 14th, 2016

Overcoming Stage Fright

May 25th, 2016

Dealing with Failure: An Essential for Effective Practice

March 30th, 2016

Project Confidence: Making Your Voice Sound Confident

June 5th, 2014

Breathing Exercises: Breathing Relaxation Techniques

November 20th, 2013

CRUCIAL SKILL #1: Grounding

October 31st, 2012

Grounding is one of the most crucial physical skills related to public speaking. Here’s a recent video¬†on the topic.

BE THE CHANGE: Embodying Skills

September 6th, 2011

During my holiday, I tried to finish a book that’s been on my shelf for some time, The Anatomy of Change, by Richard Strozzi Heckler. This is one of those books that contains really great insights and resonates so well with the concepts I teach, but sadly I can’t recommend it because it’s so difficult to read. (Kristen Linklater‘s Freeing the Natural Voice is another one in that category.) Now, I’m no book critic, but when a smart guy who likes to read, and loves to learn, struggles to get to the next page, something tells me it’s the writing.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’ll share one quote from the book that keeps resurfacing for me in the middle of lessons.

“At the time of the race, the runner must let go of the [training] and concentrate fully on the race. He must be in union with the things he has practiced, because he is no longer practicing. He now needs to be those things.”

I love this concept, and of course it’s true for any kind of performance, including public speaking and presentation. It’s not enough to know what you’re supposed to do. It has to be in you at that point, part of your being. Yes, “conscious competence” is one stage of learning, and there’s nothing wrong with being at that stage. But it’s not the end of the road. You aspire to “unconscious competence”. When you’re at the front of the room, and all eyes are on you, it’s too late to be thinking about grounding, breathing and resonance. You have to be grounded, breathing and resonant.

How do you embody skills?

  • Practice. Time and repetition help to change muscle memories.
  • Feel what you’re doing. Don’t just think about it.
  • Go slowly. Give your body a chance to absorb what’s happening.
  • Focus. Pay attention to one thing at a time.
  • Enjoy it. If it feels good, you’re more likely to retain it and return to it.
When I’m in the middle of a breathing lesson, and my client asks, “Do you breathe like this all the time,” I can only smile and say, “When I’m thinking about it, yes. When I’m not thinking about it, I hope so.” Embodying skills is the journey of a lifetime.

STAGE FRIGHT: A Colleague Weighs In

August 3rd, 2011

I met Lizabeth Phelps at a seminar, recently, and immediately sensed a congruence in perspective. Here are some of her thoughts regarding stage fright. Points 3 and 4 would appear on any list I might have written. Have a look, and then read the follow-up post that expands on her main points.