No doubt, you’ve heard this instruction before — just breathe. Just breathe when you get nervous. Just breathe when you lose your place. Just breathe if you don’t know the answer to a question. Just breathe.

The reason you hear this is because it works. Breathing gives us much needed oxygen, relaxes our nervous system, and reminds us to slow down and focus. If that weren’t enough, it also does one more thing — it allows a little magic to find its way into our presentation, and our life.

The breath exists in the present moment. You can’t breathe in the past or the future. Only now. So immediately, when you take a breath and focus on that, you are aware of the present moment, and that is where all the magic happens! It is the only place the magic can happen.

Taking a conscious breath will literally open the door for a little magic to come into your presentation, and your life!

Let’s face it, when we cram everything we know into our presentation and allow no time for interaction, questions or reflection time, we limit the possibility of something unexpected and wonderful emerging for the audience, and for ourselves. There’s no space! How can we determine if our words have had the impact we desire if we don’t take a moment to find out?

When we run around in our lives, going from one thing to the next with no break, we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to receive new insights or celebrate our accomplishments. How can we know the feedback or results of our efforts if we don’t press the pause button?

Only by taking a breath, literally and figuratively, can we create room for the magic to happen. So, why don’t we?

 As a speaker, those pauses to breathe can feel endless until we get comfortable with silence. When we remember it is only in those pauses our audience has the time to reflect and absorb the information, it becomes easier. It is during those conscious breaths your audience gets to experience the powerful opportunity you offer and you get to take care of yourself at the same time!

As human beings, those times we pause and take a breath in our lives can provide the essential timeout we need to regroup and reemerge refreshed and ready to reengage. Without those breaths, burnout is inevitable. With them, we connect with the magic waiting to happen. One of those magical things is the ability to hear our own wisdom, and as a result, make wiser decisions that benefit all involved. Amazing, that.

Next time you don’t quite know what to say or do, remember to breathe a little and watch the magic enter your presentation and your life! If I can support you, I’d love to. I can be reached at

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Oregon Department of Transportation