How Do Women Avoid Breaking Down In Front Of Others?

You've all done it at some point in your life. Perhaps it was that comment made by a superior at work, or at the board meeting; or perhaps it was just your being too tired or ragged to have control over holding back those tears. It was your worst moment in your life, including your cracking voice; and the more you tried to stop, the worst it got.

As a woman you are an emotional breed that embodies the extremes of caring and crying at any time of the day. However, at work you try to be professional and to not only fit in with the executive males; but also, impress your clients or customers. You are the one that wants to make change, break the glass ceiling, and achieve the respect of your business partners. Indeed, as a bright woman, you absolutely know how to increase profits and streamline systems.

However, you don't know how to control your emotional "mistiming." As a Speech and Drama Coach, I am often asked "How can I control my voice when my emotion takes over?" So, here are three key strategies that have worked for my clients to allow you to be master of your emotional voices, so you will not break down at the wrong time.

Key #1 Consciously Breathe:

Taking deep breaths will calm you immediately, if you breathe with the diaphragm. The diaphragm is just below the rib cage and you can feel its presence if you place your hand on your sides, or lower back, or stomach areas. It is not belly breathing; but encompasses your entire rotund lower cavity as it inflates like a balloon when you take in a breath. As you speak it is pushing the air out, or letting the air out of the balloon, expelled through your mouth.

Why is it important to use this natural breathing process that you did as a baby; but for many of you have lost this technique? It's because any shallow breathing focussed solely in the upper chest and shoulder or neck area is less powerful. Shallow or clavicle breathing increases when we are stressed and escalates to produce panic attacks. The more you breathe incorrectly and quickly; the more anxious you become.

Having control of your breathing is accomplished by practising diaphragmatic exercises, after you have relaxed your mind and body tension. One example is to lie on the floor with your hand or book on your upper stomach, breathe in for a count of three so the book rises; hold your breath for a count of three; then slowly let your breath out for a count of four or five. Repeat this exercise a few times using your mind to focus and relax yourself as you do it. Now, the technique is to transfer this breathing style while you are standing, perhaps at work in a vulnerable situation. Set your mind to immediately take three deep diaphragmatic breaths. You will experience sudden calmness and patience. You will be in control.

Key #2 Focus Your Tone:

When you are tense or anxious, your voice pitch rises to make you sound nervous or on edge. You can control lowering your pitch level so your tone does not sound timid, weak, or fearful by following your three deep breaths with a definite pause. Then tell your inner voice or mind the message, for example, to: "lower my tone as if I'm an executive in charge politely giving directions to some stranger to the front door." This puts you in charge of sounding calm and authoritative to the other person without falling apart. The trick is to keep your mind focussed on the outcome of your message and not on how you feel at that moment. Later, when you have left the situation behind you, you can let it all out to your compassionate listener at home. Practise this with a partner in a role-playing situation of arguing your point of view on some topic. Then you will be ready to implement your new strategy when it suddenly jumps at you.

Key #3 Slow Your Pace:

Your immediate reaction in confrontational situations is to get your word in there at all costs. This also leads to speaking too quickly, along with your pitch rising, and results in your efforts being weakened. The strategy here is to follow up your lower tone of voice by deliberately slowing your speech. Initially you may think you speak too slowly, but with practise you will find what speed is just right for you, so your feelings are not creeping into your conversation. This is a great tactic to give the impression that you are an expert deeply considering what has been said; so, that your next words are emotionally free, and handled by you to leave the situation without crying.

These three strategies work together as a team and will support your skill of overpowering your emotional side that makes you look vulnerable. Crying and caring are emotions that you need as a way to release your fears, sadness, and tension; or to show compassion. It is this quality as a woman that makes you a better leader and person. By having the control on your breathing, tone of your voice, and pace of delivery you will not break down suddenly; but you will show confidence and feel confident. Your voice is an amazing tool to leverage and empower your strengths and emotions. Use your voice to avoid breaking down unnecessarily.

Written by Brenda C. Smith

Did you find this article helpful? Brenda C. Smith is a personal Speech and Drama coach who helps professionals with oral presentations and communication training. Go now to to advance your career and enhance your voice for your success with our online training courses, self-help books, and personal coaching. Brenda is the author of "Ten Steps to Unlocking Your Voice" Please contact her for personal presentation and performance coaching.

Article Source: Brenda C. Smith

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