I was talking to another Specialist-Generalist last week about ‘presentation skills’ and the thing I was taught about breathing…
In essence, most people (who aren’t aware of it) use their entire lung capacity in their first statement; do that and you can’t not ‘gulp’, notice your heart is beating too fast and stumble or choke on your words.
A national politician I worked with told me to write BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE across the middle of any pre-prepared speech after the first para. It works.
As does saying nothing if nothing need be said…
Do You Struggle to Find Something to Say in Meetings?
Speaking up in a meeting can increase your visibility at work, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you struggle to offer your thoughts on the spot, you can try a few things. Before the meeting, prepare a few comments or questions so that you know you’ll have something to say. You should also think about your reasons for wanting to speak up in the first place. Ask yourself why you care about the meeting’s topic, and use the answer as inspiration when crafting your comments and questions. During the meeting, when your turn comes, pause and breathe. Doing this can strengthen your voice, helping you to speak with clarity and authority. But remember, saying something just to say something isn’t always a great idea. If you’re speaking up to show off or to offer a comment that would be better expressed one-on-one with someone, it may be better to say nothing.
Adapted from “How to Speak Up in a Meeting, and When to Hold Back,” by Allison Shapira