Hold your breath.
I was reminded only yesterday of the importance of breath control. I had to do a three hour voice recording session in a tiny sound proof box with nothing more than a manuscript stand, a pair of headphones, a mic and script. You don’t get much time to practice. The idea being that the less time you have to think, the more instinctive and in the moment your reading is. Sometimes with utter mental focus and vocal preparation this can work but as Rag’n’Bone Man says ‘I’m only human after all’. Working under pressure also means you feel the need to produce your best work quickly and yes, you got it, with that feeling comes the destructive onslaught of nerves and negative voices- ‘I can’t do this, I’m no good, I sound awful, why is my voice not doing what I want it to? I’m being judged? HELP…’
It was at this point that I used the few minutes I had between takes to practice a simple breathing exercise 4-7-8
- Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth
- Inhale through your nose for the count of four.
- Hold your breath for the count of seven.
- Exhale through pursed lips for the count of eight.
- Repeat four rounds
As a professional actress I still get nervous but I always feel more engaged with my work after doing this exercise. It’s simple yet effective. It’s quiet. You can do it as you work. It doesn’t draw attention to you and it calms the mind and body.
Practising easy techniques that empower you to be your most confident self is what we promote at The Art of Communication not just because this is our business but because it’s what we believe in and practise everyday.
Written by Charlotte Lucas