Breathing is the most important aspect of a broadcast voice because breathing is the energy for speech. If there's anything wrong with your energy source, you know that everything will suffer. Imagine trying to make a call on your cell phone when the battery is dead. No way, right? Well the same is true for speech. Without the energy of the breath, nothing performs as it should.
Proper breathing should begin low in the torso around your waist. You should feel your stomach expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. One way to feel this breathing is by lying on the floor on your back with a book on your stomach. If you breathe comfortably, you will see the book rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. To see this in action, watch this video made with IJNet’s Jessica Weiss.
Once you have the feeling of proper abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing, try it standing. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand at your waistline. Breathe so that you feel your left hand moving while your right hand remains still. This breathing will give you the best breath support for your broadcast voice and will reduce tension in your throat.
Practice good breathing every day by taking a deep inhalation before you answer your phone or while you're at a stoplight in your car.
Utterback is a Broadcast Voice Specialist and Stress Reduction Counselor with more than 40 years of experience. She has worked with anchors and reporters around the world and is the author of eight books. Her BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK is used in newsrooms and classrooms throughout the United States. Read more about Dr. Utterback at www.UtterbackPublishing.com and on her website for podcasters, www.OnlineVoiceCoaching.com. You can also follow @AnnUtterback on Twitter.