Everyone gets nervous on stage, even the pros. This is why stretching before any performance is a must. Not only does it alleviate anxiety, but it will loosen your muscles and prepare them to give their best.
When you book your segment on TV, you’re likely going to be talking a lot so it’s best to focus on your lips, your tongue, and your vocal cords.
WARNING: These exercises WILL make you feel silly.
Blow through your lips like a horse. If your lips don’t flutter, it means your lips are too tight. Keep doing it until they flutter. Then, make yourself yawn and open your mouth as wide as you can and breathe through it.
Next, let’s focus on your tongue. Though experts have debunked the theory that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, it’s an important muscle to flex when you’re about to give a speech or share your big ideas with the world.
First, stick your tongue out straight as far as you can. Then, move it to the left, to the right, then try to touch your nose and then your chin. You probably won’t touch your nose or your chin, but stretch your tongue as far as you can to exercise that muscle. Then, close your mouth and move your tongue around inside. Touch every part of your mouth: the front of your teeth, the back of your teeth all the way around. Move the tongue all the way around inside your mouth and make sure you keep it closed the entire time.
The next exercise for your tongue is a bit more intricate. It might sound weird, but keep your mouth closed and try to write your first and last name in cursive with your tongue on the back of your teeth. It will totally loosen the muscle and give your tongue a good workout.
Clearly the tongue is a pretty important muscle because our next exercise is tongue twisters. Pick a couple of tongue twisters like “Toy boat,” “Sushi chef,” “Betty Botter,” or “Peter Piper.” Say them three or four times.
Focus on hitting your consonants, especially your Ts, Ds, and Ls and over exaggerate your words. This trains your tongue to be ready to hit whatever consonants and vowels you need to get out there. The worst thing you can do is swallow your letters. When that happens, people can misunderstand the words you’re saying. Did you say play or pray?
Next, you’re going to work on your vocal cords by going from your highest octave possible to the lowest. It should sound like a rollercoaster. This might be difficult to do backstage, but you can do it in your car or if you have a dressing room.
You can also do this by humming. You should feel the vibration on your lips and in the middle of your face. It might not sound pretty, but that’s okay. The goal is to hit every note you possibly can. This will help you sound clear and rich, so your audience will view you as an authority in your field.
These are just a couple exercises you can do backstage or even before you go on a Zoom meeting. If you have to give a presentation to the president of your company, it’s normal to be nervous. Take your nerves away by warming up and practicing.
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