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The Mechanics of Form--Developing External Presentation Skills 556 Using Your Voice Although I am the first to say that actions speak louder than words, your vocal delivery plays the role of interpreter for the message. If the visual medium is truly the content and the body is definitely the delivery, then the voice is a combination of both. Words carry information and action. To develop the action in your voice, a few issues should be considered, including proper breathing and how to phrase and pause effectively. Breathing Properly Sometimes your choice of where to take the next breath can disrupt the flow of your words. By breathing between phrases rather than during a phrase, you vocalize better. The key to this is having enough air in your lungs to sustain a longer phrase. For example, I have been known to deliver very long phrases with volume and emphasis. I believe that's from knowing how to breathe properly. When you don't have enough air, you rush through your words, and then they run together from speaking so quickly. Chances are that your emphasis and inflection will be lost. In any case, by having enough air, you can say longer phrases more slowly, which helps to make the message clear. First, let's find out if you are breathing properly. Stand up and take a deep breath. Did your shoulders go up? Did your chest expand? If your shoulders went up, you filled your chest with air. Unfortunately, that's not the way you naturally breathe. The air normally goes into the lower abdomen. Try this test. Lie down on the floor, face up, with a book on your stomach. Breathe normally and watch the book. Notice it moving up and down? That's your diaphragm at work. The muscles in your stomach, not your chest, control breathing. Now take a deep breath and force the book upward; it should be easy once you concentrate on the correct muscles for the job.