Public speaking can be an intimidating task, but a little preparation goes a long way towards making it less daunting. Last week, we discussed how to prepare your voice for speaking in front of a group. While relaxing your face is an important component of confident public speaking, many people neglect another critical preparation technique: body relaxation.
Physical tension can hamper your ability to speak with confidence in a number of ways. An excess of tension in the body translates to a stiff, unnatural way of moving and speaking. This can convey to your audience that you are uncomfortable and lacking confidence. When an audience feels that you are not confident, you lose credibility and often, the interest of the audience as well.
In order to reduce tension in your body before speaking, take the time to do some stretches and relaxation exercises:
Stand with your feed shoulder-width apart. With your arms relaxed at your sides, drop your head forward, and slowly bend down to touch your toes. Concentrate on rolling downward vertebrae by vertebrae to relax your spine. Once you’ve gone as far as you comfortably can, pause for ten seconds, then slowly roll back up.
Tilt your head side to side, as though you are trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold each tilt for ten seconds.
Roll your shoulders through their full range of motion ten times. Reverse directions and repeat.
Extend your right arm over your head and bend to the left, stretching the entire right side of your body. Hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Stay tuned: next week we’ll continue our series on techniques for improving your public speaking skills!
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