[Image by Public Domain from Pixabay]
Most of us have heard the saying “What Goes Up Must Come Down” but it clearly applies to several aspects of speaking for instance:
- Relaxation: When we relax, it helps if we can focus on our eyebrows. First, we lift them up and then we drop them down to their resting position. Another aspect of relaxation involves our shoulders. It’s advised to use a shrugging movement to get the shoulders up and ultimately, drop them back down to their resting position.
- Breathing: For some people, breathing is related to relaxation. Whether or not, you use your breathing for that purpose, breath support is vitally important for all of us, particularly when we speak. That brings me to diaphragmatic breathing which I’ve taught my clients (for years.) It involves quite a bit, so for now think of your diaphragm (the large dome shaped muscle that is located just below your ribcage.) The diaphragm moves up and down helping us to regulate our breathing. On inhalation, the diaphragm moves down while the abdominal muscles expand. On exhalation (when we speak), the diaphragm moves up while the abdominal muscles contract (the exact opposite of inhalation).
- Volume: How easily we’re heard depends on how loudly we speak or what’s known as our volume. Clearly, some situations warrant an upward movement (increase) in volume while others require a lowering movement (decrease) in volume. Determining whether to have our volume go up or down depends on the circumstances. If your listener is struggling to hear you, it’s beneficial to move your volume level up however if you’re a public speaker, there may be points where you alter your volume so that it goes down. Either way, you’ll want to use diaphragmatic breathing as previously mentioned.
- Intonation: In considering intonation (pitch) it behooves us as speakers to understand we each have a vocal range. As speakers, we want to capitalize on that range. Think about which words or phrases you want to emphasize. When you practice out loud, see if you can adjust your intonation up as well as down. Generally, an upward movement (also referred to as rising) is thought of as a question or interrogative behavior. In contrast, a downward movement (also referred to as falling) is thought of as a statement or declarative behavior. Both forms of intonation are useful and sound quite different from one another.
These four examples show the up and down movement. So, if you’ve read this post and approve, please lift your arms up over your head…be sure to remember to bring them down!
Can’t wait to hear your comments and questions.