Want to Improve Your Speaking Skills? Learn from the King’s Speech

Guest post Monday and we have Jean Palmer Heck, president of Real-Impact Inc. She is an author and speaking coach and offers us a simple technique we can all do to improve our communication skills and boost our sales success!

Ever wondered what it’s like to work with a speaking coach? The Oscar winning movie, The King’s Speech, is an excellent example of how a person with serious presentation skill problems can overcome the difficulties with the help of a communications expert.

Although the king had a stuttering problem, many of the techniques his speech coach used with him are the same as those I use with executives in one-on-one coaching.

Here is an analysis of one speech technique exercise in the movie. You can do it on your own to improve your presentation skills.

Abdominal breathing exercises for speakers … or “Sit on him, Queen Mum.”

Most people breathe shallowly, expanding only the upper regions of their lungs. Long sentences are almost impossible to get through without sounding winded. A good breathing technique is to breathe diaphragmatically. In simple terms, your waistline should expand when you inhale. When you exhale, your waistline should be its smallest.

It’s much easier to illustrate this if the person learning this technique lies down on the floor. The “breather” (speaker) can better see the movement of the diaphragm by watching his or her abdomen rise and fall. Inhale and your stomach rises. Exhale and it falls. It’s almost impossible to breathe the wrong way in this position.

In The King’s Speech, the presentations skill coach had the future Queen Mum sit on the monarch’s stomach while he practiced breathing more deeply. Since I don’t have access to Queen Mums when I work (lol), I use a 3-ring binder. Maybe it’s not as easy to see as her majesty, but it is good enough for us commoners.

This is a public speaking exercise you can try in the privacy of your own home or office conference room. But a word of warning. Don’t fall asleep! It can be too relaxing in this position. In fact, when I can’t get to sleep, I practice this silent speech technique and I’m in dreamland within a few minutes.

You don’t have to be king to be a great speaker. But you should be a great speaker if you are king … or a leader.

Heck is the author or Tough Talks™ in Tough Times: What Bosses Need to Know to Deliver Bad News, Motivate Employees & Stay Sane. You can learn more about Heck at www.Real-Impact.com.

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