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Learning from The King’s Speech

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 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 speaking 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 presentation skill 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 the king 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.

2 Responses to Learning from The King’s Speech

  1. sypeavela says:

    HJustto say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

  2. I just serch on google and found Learning from The King's Speech | Real-IMPACT | Jean Palmer Heck information! Thank you for your great work!!

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