Do you speak like you’re racing in the Indy 500 in your public speaking?

We’ve all been there.

You’re panicking, your heart is thumping like a freight train, and all you want to do is race through your presentation and so you can sit down and hide.

Here’s the thing:  If you race through your presentation, your audience won’t hear a word of it.  They’ll be so busy trying to run to keep up with you that they’ll do what all audiences do… they’ll just stop listening.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to slow down sometimes when public speaking.  When you get caught up in the nerves and speed through your content it does no one any favours and you’ll lose your audience.

Here are three sure-fire tools that you can use right away to slow down in your public speaking, become irresistible to your audience, and keep them listening.

#1  Breathe, Breathe, Breathe


This is my go-to, top shelf, always a winner public speaking tool that will help you slow down and keep your audience with you rather than running to catch up to you.

‘But I’m already breathing, my body does it automatically,’ you say.  Yes, that’s true.  But not all breath is created equal.  There’s breathing to keep your body ticking over and there’s purposeful, quality breathing that is high octane fuel for your vocal delivery.

Breathing from your lower belly, or diaphragmatic breathing, allows your lungs to take in the highest quality of breath.  You get the most support for your voice and it forces you to take a moment, breath, and then continue on with your words.

Breathing also helps you to think more clearly when public speaking and allows you to finish one thought and then take in the next one.  When YOU slow down and take your time to finish one thought and then begin another, your audience also gets the same consideration.

Audience’s love it when you breathe because if you’re breathing, they get to breathe, too.  And trust me, a breathing audience is a happy audience.

#2  The Power of Pause


This goes hand in hand with breathing in public speaking because when you pause, you get a chance to breathe and when you breathe, you get a chance to pause.  And that all makes you slow down.

Pausing instantly helps you slow down because it inserts and enforced moment of silence, a beat of space between thoughts that helps to parcel information for the audience.

The audience can’t take in too much information at once.  If you’re racing through your words without letting up or pausing, they will eventually stop listening.  They just can’t keep up with you if you’re running at 100 miles an hour.

When you pause, the audience gets to take in small chunks of text at a time.  The audience hears you, digests it, and then are ready for the next chunk.  This happens very quickly in that one second it takes for you to pause and it allow us to NOT feel rushed or running to catch up with you.

Pausing physically in public speaking makes you slow down.  It’s a tool that forces you to slow down because you have to give space to a pause.  Otherwise it’s not a pause.

This is a powerful public speaking tool that just takes a bit of practice.  Once you learn how the power of pause feels, you’ll want to use it all the time.  It just makes your life easier and the audience’s life easier as well.  Win-win.

#1  Speak Clearly and Think Into Your Consonants


Speaking clearly when public speaking is another tool that physical makes you slow down.  When you speak clearly and articulate your words, you have to slow down in order to physically enunciate your words.

There are two main textures in words:  Consonants and vowels.

Consonants are the hard edges of language, they are pretty much everything except A, E, I, O, and U.  And consonants are your best friends when it comes to slowing down (after breathing and pausing, of course).

When you think into your consonants when public speaking, you not only speak more clearly and are heard more easily but the sheer physical act of articulating makes you slow down.  You have to consciously slow down in order to articulate more clearly.  It works both ways.

Words are very physical.  Your consonants are tailor made to help you get more clarity and punch out of your words and you have to slow down. And you have to slow down in order to get more clarity and punch out of your words.  Again, it works both ways.

Take a Breath and Heed the Stop Signs in Public Speaking


We all want to slow down in our public speaking.  No one wants to race through their presentation or speech.  It’s just a question of how to do it.

Now you’ve got three techniques to help you slow down that you can literally implement when you finish reading this blog.

Take time to pause and take a breath.  And use your consonants; they’re there already to make use of what you’re given for free.  These three techniques are simple tools that pay off in dividends and give you great bang for your buck.  Ignore them at your peril.

I’ll be handing out speeding tickets so don’t forget to breathe…


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