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How Can You Breathe For Most Confident Public Speaking? — Like This!

How Can You Breathe For Most Confident Public Speaking? — Like This!

Did you know breath is a powerful tool for calming your nerves? Here's how you can breathe for the most confident public speaking. 


1.  a breathing in, as of air into the lungs; inhaling.  2. an inspiring or being inspired mentally or emotionally.  (Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition).

Surprised to learn that the first dictionary definition of “inspiration” means breathing? Yet how interesting: to be inspired can mean to take air in and then become creative!

Speech anxiety limiting your career? Learn how to command the stage with my book Fearless Speaking, named "One of 100 Best Confidence Books Of All Time." On Amazon.

How to breathe to conquer your public speaking fear.

To Overcome Stage Fright, Learn Proper Breathing

That dictionary definition is a reminder that to be engaging speakers, we need to breathe in enough air so we feel like our confident, comfortable selves. (What could be worse than running out of air, which happens with nervous speakers?) To know how to be at your best when speaking, in other words, you need to practice proper breathing. 

Good breathing not only helps your concentration. It also slows your heart rate so you get enough oxygen! So, there's another benefit to good breathing: it provides your brain with  oxygen so you can know how to think on your feet while speaking in public.

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Still looking for reasons to get in touch with your breathing? If you suffer from stage fright, you're apt to breathe rapidly and shallowly. Apart from being uncomfortable for you, your audience may notice that you struggle with speech anxiety. Their confidence in you and your message then takes a hit.

Here is another of my free resources to help you conquer speech anxiety: "10 Fast and Effective Ways To Overcome Stage Fright."

How to Practice 'Belly Breathing'

To speak at your best, get in the habit of “belly breathing.” That means breathing with the help of your diaphragm (the dome-shaped muscle between your lungs and your abdomen). We tend to use just the upper part of our lungs. Belly breathing, on the other hand, is the way your body wants to breathe. It allows the diaphragm to get out of the way so your lungs can expand fully. 

Discover 101 skills for more successful presentations in the Public Speaking Handbook, How to Give a Speech. Also on Amazon. Click on the image below for a free chapter! 

101 Fast and Effective Ways to Improve Your Pitches, Speeches, and Presentations

Here’s how to belly breathe, in three easy steps: (1) Place your hand on your belly. That’s your diaphragmatic area.  (2) Take relaxed, deep breaths. (3) Concentrate on the movement that's taking place there. Your belly should come out when you inhale, and go back in when you exhale. And that's it! 

You can practice by standing in front of a mirror and watching your breathing action. (Your belly should be moving rather than your shoulders or chest.) Now, you're getting a good supply of nourishing oxygen. This will put you in a calming and centered frame of mind. Here's one of my free resources that will also help: "10 Ways To Stay Fully Focused When Speaking."  You'll be calmer, more focused, and more in touch with the breathing that's allowing you to speak! 

This blog was previously published in this space. It is updated here. 

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Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. He was named for nine consecutive years as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals, and also named as One of America's Top 5 Speech CoachesHe is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. His latest book is Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership PresenceContact Gary here. 


Main photo credit: Eli DeFaria on


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