I love public speaking AND being in front of an audience. The opportunity to connect with a large group of people all at once gives me a thrill.
Since I was a little girl, I wanted to put on big make-up, wear wild costumes, have big hair, and make sure everyone noticed me!
It’s the Gemini in me.
Even though I loved having an audience, I would sometimes get shaky hands, my voice would quiver, or I would get tongue tied.
What I learned at a young age was that I had to warm up so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush of walking onto a stage with all eyes on me.
Professional athletes warm up. Musicians warm up. Actors warm up. Warming up your body, breath, and voice decreases the shock of adrenaline in your system. Instead of shrinking in response to the pressure of being in the spotlight, you teach your nervous system and body to breath through it. You ground yourself so that negative thoughts don’t distract you.
Towards the beginning of every talk I give, I Iead the entire audience through a mini warm up (This is very interesting when my audience is filled with a hundred managers of a pharmaceutical corporation).
In the photo above, I had the entire audience at Lisa Elia’s Meet the Media Day yawning, stretching, lip fluttering, and shaking it out so the participants were relaxed and ready to meet and interview with members of the media.
After a thorough warm up, you feel relaxed and loose. You have shed the armor of tension so you are more open to the people you are going to inspire.
When I work with clients who say they can’t speak in front of a group or they get too nervous, I encourage them to begin with a warm up to see how their experience changes. I have heard some hilarious and wonderful testimonials after a warm up:
“I don’t give a sh#t what anyone else thinks about me right now!”
“I feel like my vagina is unplugged!” (Yes a woman actually said that)
“I could stay up here in front of everyone forever!”
“I feel SOOO calm. And I am NOT calm.”
“I’m realizing that it is actually safe to let my guard down and let people in.”
You can try some of the warm up exercises that I lead my groups and clients through:
- Sit quietly with your hands on your chest and belly. Notice your body being moved by your breath.
- Let breath out with a Whispered Ah to allow your shoulders and jaw to release
- Yawn and stretch with sound
- Lip flutter (Watch the video here)
- Hum and shake your hips, twist your ribcage, & bounce your shoulders
How do you feel afterwards? What is different in your body? your nervous system? your voice?