Foundations are the stuff upon which life is built.

I’ve taken a break from writing since early June. My husband returned from Bali at the end of May, after a month of yoga teacher training. Exciting for us both, as we are using that energy to set some new intentions in our lives moving forward. 

Which got me thinking about foundations. Foundations are the stuff on which life is built. 

It’s the base on which EVERYTHING rests.

When I started singing, my teachers worked with me on breathing and posture. These are foundational aspects to using one’s voice effectively. After years of piano lessons, playing flute in a youth orchestra, and singing in choirs, I had the ‘music’ part down pretty good – but, the breath, the posture part was missing.

Can you be a speaker without knowing about breath and posture? Yes, yes you can – we use our voices every day without much ‘training’ in these fields, per se, but can you be an engaging and memorable speaker without knowing about breath and posture? Probably not.

Because your breath and your posture are foundational elements of using your voice to best express yourself.

Would you listen to a speaker who slouched? How about one who spoke so quickly you only caught every 3rd word?

This is what I mean by foundations. The foundations of connected communication begin with YOU. With your body. Your breath, your posture.  

Foundations of a steel bridge. foundations of public speaking

Your breath and your posture are foundational elements of using your voice to best express yourself.

What can you do if you want to improve your speaking?

Start with your posture. Stand with a tall and free spine (thank you, Alexander Technique). Practice the power pose outlined by Amy Cuddy in her fantastic TEDTalk. When you walk into a room, your posture should be noble and confident, yet approachable and flexible.

Movement modalities like martial arts, yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, etc, all support healthy posture that will make you a better communicator. After all, body language speaks volumes before we even open our mouths.

Once you have started exploring posture, begin to explore your breath and breathing. Again, some of the movement modalities I mentioned above will support you in this, but the way you breathe will inform how you speak. Start to listen to other speakers and notice how they breathe.

When we are nervous, one of the first things that is affected is our breath. What happens when we start public speaking? Nerves kick in and our breath is affected!

So – start to explore your breath – I’m going to go deeper into this on my next blog post on Building coming out later this month.

Here are a few simple things you can do to begin to build and support your own foundations:

  1. Explore a new movement modality – try out something completely different – you may enjoy it!
  2. Begin to notice your own posture as you go about your day – walking, driving, at your desk, etc. Notice what is tight and what isn’t.
  3. Notice others’ posture. Make a note of who seems tall and confident, and who seems slouched and ‘hidden’. It’s important here to be free from judgement, and simply move to a place of noticing.

If you want to know more about how to build the foundations of your speaking skills, why not reach out and book a free 45-minute connection call? You can easily book a no-pressure (I don’t do ‘hard sales’) conversation with me using this link. 

Jen Lang, Voice and Communications Coach