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Heroic Public Speaking

Lesson 4 of 23

Find Your Voice: Breathing

Michael Port, Amy Port

Heroic Public Speaking

Michael Port, Amy Port

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Lesson Info

4. Find Your Voice: Breathing

Lesson Info

Find Your Voice: Breathing

Voice and speech work yes, that's what we were going on now, why is voice and speech work important? Because you need to be heard what else you need to be understood? You know, if you've ever seen somebody perform or speaking to go, and I can't understand what they're saying that you lose it all, you also can make people feel with your voice. So it's not just what you're saying, but it's how it sounds to them, so we'll start with breath work, then we'll move into speech work and you're going to have practicum at the same time that we're learning. So if you're at home, you're going to be doing these exercises with us because you can't improve the way you use your voice by watching somebody use their voice, you have to actually stand up and get in the game the only way you benefit. So what we're going to do first is amy is going to stand right here she's going to face the camera at home, we're going to take the people who have mike's, and we're going to put them up stage that's here and ...

you guys are gonna follow a me and do exactly what she's doing as she's teaching toward the people at home sound good say yes if it does come here, let's go ten people with mike's okay, so while we have people coming up, I want to touch on just a couple of more things about your voice and your speech because yes, we want to be heard and yes, we want to be understood and yes, we'd like to have healthy voices you don't wantto be horse or not oh, I have a sore throat after every speech you give we'd also like you to sound substantial you know we talked about authenticity earlier somebody up here said yes, I want to sound authentic I want to sound like me please sound like you but sound like the best, most confident, authentic version of you we want to hear you sounding substantial and confident in what you have to say we also and this is a little bit of a touchy one we can with our voices and with our speech become more likable, which is very, very important for those audience members who want to poke holes in what it is we're saying because if we're listening to somebody and going, yeah, I hear what they're saying I understand what they're saying, but I just kind of don't like him then it's very difficult to actually move them or to get them to feel what you want them to feel or do what you want them to do or think what you want them to think it's surprising often to people to recognize how influential the voices as it relates to likeability we think often that it's just a personality but often the voice reflects a personality but your voice may actually not reflect what you're feeling and as a result the audience is not connecting to who you really are and for most people it's not something that they've ever thought about it you didn't have voice classes in high school did you no reading writing and voice classes so yeah let's not make a bigger deal out of it then it needs to be but recognize that it's not just about being heard it's not just about sounding good it's also about reaching people so mark martin luther king wrote of course one of the greatest speeches ever written in the history of the world I have a dream but could you imagine somebody with a different voice giving that speech? It would be a dramatically different speech and of course we're not asking you to sound like martin luther king or james earl jones or fran drescher. Fran drescher you can only sound like yourself the best version of yourself and that's what we're going to teach you how to do sound good say yes if it does great okay, so we are going to have all of you stand up you're going to do this work too you're not just going to watch we are all going to be involved with border okay, so we're starting very simply by making sure your feet are parallel to each other and ladies, if you have on really high heels, you may actually want to take them off, be bold, go barefoot and make sure your knees are a little soft because sometimes good awesome uh, sometimes when we get nervous, we tend to lock at our knees and you will actually see people pass out on stage if there needs air locked back and they're not breathing or their breathing like this and they're getting really anxious, right? You can actually make yourself pass out, so make sure your news or saw yeah, good. So some of you I just saw linda start rolling our shoulders a little bit let's do that everybody really shoulders up and back. Thank you a few times. So as we're doing this, one thing we need to be aware of is that emotions affect how we're breathing. Yeah, if you think of feeling anxious, do you think the breath gets deeper? Do you think it gets more shallow? Yeah, and you can actually put yourself into a full out panic attack by breathing like this which I should really stop and not do even for demonstrative purposes, right? Okay, so everybody take one arm up us, everybody take your right arm up yeah, and put your left hand on your left ribs if you need to spread out and take up more space here please do so start too deep in the breath into your ribs as you stretch, you have muscles in between each and every one of your ribs they're called intercostal muscles keep breathing and see if you can expand your ribs into your hand. Can you guys see that on me? Just watch here for a moment. Can you see movement? See if you can get some movement in your side ribs because if your rib cage is locked, you can't breathe into your full capacity as we kind of moved through the world we breathe tow about one sixth of our lung capacity. Imagine if you breathe more fooling anybody getting lightheaded over oxygenated could all we have the massage going on in the background? That's good, other side good, so reach up through the left, put your hands on your left ribs and even press in a little bit so that you can expand and reach enough that you get a little stretch. So for some of you, that may mean you come over, but dawn go so deeply into the stretch that you're like, I can't breathe it's this kind of happy medium now notice, are you breathing in a way? It was like, oh, I'm getting calmer good I'm getting more relaxed or you breathing in a way that's like doing what I'm supposed to do here and getting a little agitated give it one more breath good release it really shoulders up and back beautiful roll it at them back a few times so we walked this very interesting fine line when we're on the stage of being energized and yet relaxed if we're so energized that we become manic we're not relaxed and that will affect the sound of the voice and if were so relaxed that there's no energy, eh here we're going to be boring right so we want to be energized super awake super relaxed so we're going to roll down through the spine everybody again make sure your knees or soft come back to that really nice full deep breath in through the nose we're going to just breathe out through the mouth for now like you're sighing good and drop your chin towards your chest on your going very slowly like you're rolling down one vertebrae at a time just let gravity start to take you now again make sure your knees or soft if you have any spinal issues any vertebral issues you're not going to move into a place where there's pain right? So we're seeing people up on the stage rolling all the way down hands toward toes if you could do that where you are great and if you can't that's no problem those of you at home make sure you have room to do this yeah still breathe make sure you keep a little bend in the knees a couple straight legs shake out your head a little bit let the head be heavy shake it like you're saying no and more importantly like you're saying yes and and not cheapen you soft keep breathing in through the nose out through the mouth as you roll back up okay how are you feeling? Just throw some through some words at let's have the people in the state you have mike's how do you feel? A little relaxed very relaxed expanded, expanded grounded grounded good all things fluid in my body in your body all things we want when we're performing you know you can have a very simple warm up that gets you breathing and get your voice present and open and gets your speech warmed up that doesn't have to take more than ten, twelve, fifteen minutes that you do before every single performance or every single class or whatever it might be okay, so that's sound bad breath we were just doing we're going to put on sound it's gonna get loud in here everybody so take a deep breath in and like you're throwing the ball just a sigh like this hey ah dude again hey dude again good noticed your own sound right I wanna introduce you to a concept of being on your voice if what you're hearing is this hey hey you hear all the breath escape it that's not pure vibration versus hey versus hey now let's talk just for a quick second before you do it I want you to hear the difference in your own voice but imagine sending up somebody coming up to give a speech and they're going to talk to you about something really really important right? And you can hear right from the get go that there's just very, very breathy that's different from hearing someone come up and talk to you about something that is important to them does it have a different impact getting on your voice makes you sound more substantial on your voice versus breathy not to be confused with forcing it which would be like this hey it's just me engaging right here forcing it out from the throat so its breath it's on breath breath supports the sound so like this hey with me hey, clear hey one more time. Okay, good. Okay, so we're gonna get into some of the resonator because sound resonates in your body in different places everybody go like this ah yes all open up your mouth I have to stop you guys resent it because here's what I see what you're doing but he really wasn't going to allison's going toe form anything up you gotta actually now that this is not really what you want to know if you're working microphone they can just turn it down for a second but you don't hit your microphone because I'll have to pay for it but actually you you're you're a sports guy you're like yes way! Hit yourself yes get sound resonating in the chest cavity, right take a deep breath in ah, deep breath open your mouth. Yes, I rest my case. I did not that didn't that sound different already? You hear different? Could you feel a difference that we want to feel it? You want to feel how sound resonates in your body? Because ha is a very different sound and communicate something very different to your audience then, huh? So open the mouth one more time take a deep breath in. Let it go. Okay, you also have resonator is in what we call the mask. I don't know why we don't call it the face, but in the theatre world we call it the mask and it's your literally vibrating the sound in your sinus area and up in here. Yeah, so we're going to do the sound me like this it's very cute me right into sinuses take a breath and side out me way okay, so hear the difference if I'm going in those lower pitches which have they resonate more in the chest you're going to get a higher pitch use a higher pitt here because there's a difference between this here this me and fran drescher here we come me me can you hear how it's buzzing here me hi if I just use that resonator when I come to speak hi I'm here to talk to you about public speaking again you get a very different impression you have a very different impact if you're talking here to your audience and that's all just focusing my sound right in my facial mask resonator sze it's not very attractive is it? You can say no if it is it's not very attractive but I do want access to that part of my voice so that I'm not just resonating here and keeping it all down here all the time so let's wake it up ok this isn't going to do it right like michael was saying that just got me doesn't do it deep breath and like you're putting the sound out your nose take a deep breath in me god stop when you run out of breath stop yeah take a deep breath in me go up into the far ahead like a red into the inner eye sockets me you got to make this sound don't you do it? I'm going good and even here put your hand here and go home e like you're throwing it shit me me time good range is so interesting we wantto have range is part of what keeps us dynamic and interesting uh some of the most boring speakers are the people who just speak on one note the whole time they may be talking about something fascinating but if they're talking on the same note the whole time sixty minute keynote right here we're gone we're gone and you have a huge range to your voice he really do so next one skull resonator sze uh julia child yeah that's what she does is she talks all right up using her skull resonator sze and it even sounds like she's singing a little bit you know? Okay, so like this okay, take a deep breath in if we're going oh, no much comes out breathe in oh, good double it up like this way need a little help here? Roof of the mouth feel with your tongue how the roof of your mouth is hard from the teeth back and then there's a lumber yard you got her first. Actually, I number high, not is shroff can you feel that that's called your soft palate and it's a muscular right? So to get that lifted, which gives us again some more room for sound inhale on a k sound like this yeah keep your new stuff to know passing out let's do it again with anybody in the room who did any acting training at any point raise a hand if you did is this familiar? Yeah again good now see if you can induce a yuan by lifting the roof of your mouth who try again? I really did get up anybody else on east coast time? The reason I decided to switch my major to theater in colleges because the first class I took they said you can yawn as much as you want in class because it's good for you you're putting oxygen in your lungs I like this is the class for may well more you on take deep breath in you may get a real one you may not it's okay, so now try soft knees deep breath in for the kiki does that sound different? Does it feel easier? We're weird that's fine out of our comfort zone is really fine it's really, really good, right? Especially if your if your comfort zone with your voice is really just in one very neutral place imagine instead being able to hit certain moments really using the power of your chest voice and at other moments when you want to get light and you want to get whatever it is being able to use the high range too so that you have full range of your voice full range of your expressiveness one of the goals were doing voice work at all is toe let the voice be an expression of what's going on inside we're talking about authenticity earlier, right? So you're never going to come out on stage and go for this performance I'm going to use more of my head voice and I'm working on this I'm doing my voice work is I'm here on stage so that I see more jovial you know or whatever it may be you're not ever going to do your voice work on stage you do your voice work in your warm up, you do it is part of your training so that when you come out you can just be you and you have full access to all of the different expressions of you. So michael just did this very sweet thing where he went we'll talk about that too, but you'll see in here right? You can see how I'm lit at this moment can you guys see that you can see me more clearly and you'll get to know as a performer? I just stepped on my life that's part of being present being in the moment as an actor you have to be aware of so many things at the same time and if you're working with people who have your back, then they'll help you out and you don't have it fingers on all of the buttons okay, so we've done resonance now between the breath and the sound when it comes out sometimes things can get in the way habitual tension sometimes it comes from we're not going to analyze you all but psychological things that go on if we are nervous about being seen or scared that what we have to say may not be worth saying or that we don't deserve to be heard sometimes what we'll see is well get some tension in the jaw or some tension in the face in the mouth you'll sometimes two people who barely moved their mouth at all lovely speak and you'll sometimes see people who have a very, very tight tongue and you can hear is I'm talking it affects the quality of your sound and I think become much less interesting tow listen to say yes if you agree okay so we're going to do a little a little stretching out of the face so everybody make a really open everything your eyes stick it on out on that really small so you can't worry about being pretty in the theater okay and opened it up so good ticket down at uh still breed self immunities and make a really small good okay take your hands heel of your hand to your jaw muscles so you can feel right below your cheekbone this is your jaw yeah when you're young that's good creative way so gently start to draw down you may feel some muscular tightness anyone feel muscular tightness under the heel of your hand so yes, if you do yeah, a lot of us do a lot of us do so gently rather than doing like big circles just draw down, let your mouth open I affectionately call this one stupid face it's a very beautiful you smell too smart. We've got to dump you off a little bit interesting when we want to look attractive all the time it can get in the way of us actually being attractive and charismatic other so down toward your chin like that so you let your you let your mouse go you let your tongue go oh, don't be shy go go really stupid all of you at home stupid face just cause you're home doesn't mean you get to skip stupid face all of you at home I want to hear I want you to write in how good stupid face feels tio okay, so now the tongue it gets prettier the tongue so let's, start with this. Put your thumb right behind can you feel the jawbone? And then there's the soft space underneath that's the root of your tongue is it tied science of it is no, you guys have all loosey goosey talking to you see if you can find a little tender place tim sasha in there can you actually feel it? It's the root of utah yeah new okay, so now we're going to stretch out the tongue you have a question slightly disturbing way talk a lot about how it's uncomfortable to perform it's that naked thing it's uncomfortable we worked to get comfortable with being in the uncomfortable so along that line put the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth going to stretch it out on sound like this, huh? You cannot be noticed notice for a second if it feels forced and notice if you're doing it all in the lower part if this is what you're hearing huh ah you're literally just doing like what we call a vocal fry where you're taking your your vocal chords and just going um you just smashing together yeah we want breath supported sound like a baby you ever seen a baby cry? Yeah they don't they don't temperate they don't temperate they go big breath in lied open mouth everything comes flying out of huge sound right? So using the range of your voice so that we can stretch out the tongue take a breath in like this ah I think some of your flirting with me okay again hi ah good okay, so now justus, I threw the full range of your voice like this hey, good really throw a a that sounds that can reach the back of the house. You will be miked a lot of the time, but that sounds that can reach the back of a house without trashing your voice. So we're going to move into some practicum and we're going to put one of you up here at a time, and we're gonna do some work with your voice, one of you at a time before we do that. Is there anything that we have been too busy having fun with? You guys doing these exercises? But I'm gonna take a look in the chips now. Could you revue for them the different hearts of the body that you use for breathing that it it's not this diaphragmatic thing that people always often described it as yeah. So, uh, do you mean like a review of what we just did? Our actually talking about a shot of me of it, michael, you and that will be anatomy of it because you may have heard wait. So when we make sound, when we make sound rest supports vibration, that is what is happening physically anatomically in your body, your vocal cords in the gladys in the throat come together and vibrate against each other and, depending on what part of the vocal cord is touching, that determines the pitch so all of us, because of the length of our vocal cords and the size of our vocal chords, have a predetermined range of low notes and high notes that you can hit that will not change, although in all likelihood there's a lot more of your voice that you're not yet accessing. So when we send breath through the vocal courts and they vibrate like that like that, if just air is coming through, then it'll just sound like my vocal chords aren't touching. If there's no sound at all if there's a whispery sounds like we were talking earlier about that breathy sound, then I'm starting to shape a sound into words. I started to shape this sound into words with my speech capacity, my mouth and all that, but I'm not actually bringing my vocal chords together. If it's that breath your sound, I'm starting to bring my vocal chords together, but I'm still letting lots of air escape out and I might run out of breath really, really quickly because I'm letting the air just move out it's not efficient at all you may find you run out of breath very quickly in that case, but when we bring our vocal cords cleanly, clearly purely to get either we get that pure sound that then resonates in the chest and in the face and in the skull. The sound vibrates, it resonates, it actually physically moves us on some level. Those of you who were talking about wanting to have more of an energetic communication with your audience is everybody has vibration in their bodies and it's part of why sound is so potent as a communicator, because when we are clear with our sound and the vibration in their bodies and it's, not some kind of new agey thing, it's just literally what's happening anatomically in our bodies when we vibrate and send the sound vibrations out and someone hears and receives that's our vibration translating to them it's actually quite beautiful and powerful, so it's not just that we need to breathe deeply because you may find that you have good breath support, and sometimes you'll use full breath to speak, and sometimes you'll use a little catch breath and have what you need. But the more you're bringing your vocal courts clearly cleanly together without bringing all kinds of tension into the throat, you guys can hear the difference. Just bringing the vocal cords cleanly together you will find you will not run out of breath. You will feel grounded. As we were talking about earlier, you will feel more relaxed and you can trust that your voice is communicating what it is you want to say.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

A memorable speaking engagement can transform a career – learn how to tell stories that stir up emotion and move listeners to the edge of their seats. Join Michael Port and Amy Port for the most engaging public speaking course you’ll ever encounter, Heroic Public Speaking.

Public speaking is notoriously difficult, but working professionals can rarely avoid it. Whether it's selling your work to a potential client, presenting a deck to collaborators, or giving a talk in front of a large audience, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll have to speak in front of others – learn how to do it well. In this Heroic Public Speaking course, Michael and Amy will teach you a system for engaging, persuading, and inspiring your audience, no matter the size.

In this class, Michael and Amy will help you craft a presentation that feels like a performance instead of speech. You’ll learn techniques for structuring a compelling presentation with tips on incorporating cliff-hangers, using humor to engage listeners, and constructing stories that tell a coherent story. You’ll also learn how the pros handle pre-show nerves and respond to the audience in real-time.

If you want to impress and inspire your audience, no matter the size, join Michael and Amy for their complete guide to turning your public speaking gig into a performance.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Developing Your Big Idea - A Self Guided Worksheet

Guide to Making World Saving Speeches - 25 more tips


Practice Script 1

Practice Script 2

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class! An incredible amount of content shared in a fun, engaging way. Michael Port is a gift. I attended his Book Yourself Solid Immersion via telecourse and was impressed. However, seeing him on video adds layers of instruction that will benefit me not only in public speaking, but in other aspects of my business and life as well. Amy Mead really lazers in on specific improvements that get big results. Thanks to all for an outstanding class.


Wow.. When I first stumbled across Michaels videos I thought “this guy is almost TOO good.” The free information was so helpful that I rationalized with myself that I didn't have to sign up for the course, at least not right away. Eventually after my procrastination period I bought the class and was pleasantly reassured of my purchase. The content inside was just as valuable and fun! Not only that, watching the transformations of the students as they practiced their speeches was simply amazing. Michael and Amy work great with each other and have put together a top notch experience with Heroic Public Speaking.

Karen Lynn Ingalls

This course is GREAT! From the basics of using your body and voice, giving you a foundation for your speaking, to getting your big idea, creating a framework for your speech, structuring the speech, to delivery, you'll get an amazing amount of learning that will help you become a great public speaker. My kudos to Michael Port and Amy Mead for teaching an excellent course, and my thanks to Creative Live for presenting it!