Exercise: Think, Breathe, Speak

As you begin to observe your natural breathing patterns, notice when your breath is deep and connects with fluent speech to express yourself. Now, reflect on when you hold your breath, use fillers, or produce halting speech. Do you find yourself impulsively inhaling BEFORE you are prepared? Does this result in a long pause? Or do you fill the space with “Ums” and “Uhs” while you think of the words to say? 

What are your default fillers?

Here’s a good way to practice the Think, Breathe, Speak pattern during everyday interactions under low-pressure circumstances. Try counting to two before you inhale each time it’s your turn to respond during a conversation.

Once you have control over when you inhale during an interaction you increase your ability to integrate a Directive Thought. Whether that Directive Thought is an Actionable Intention or an active instruction to employ a communicative tool, your breathwork serves to align you with your overall communicative outcomes.

Here is a simple exercise you can practice to get you into the habit of employing the Think, Breathe, Speak pattern. Find a quiet room where you can practice out loud without preoccupation or interruption. Imagine you are going to speak to a room full of colleagues, or imagine an audience that you might be presenting in front of. You can start by introducing yourself.

  1. Tell the audience your name.
  2. Share with the audience something about your professional position or educational standing and something about what you do, the role you serve, or what your goals are.
  3. Reveal something interesting about yourself, something you enjoy doing for fun or something that you are passionate about.

Before you breathe, think of the action “tell”, “share”, or “reveal”. This is your Directive Thought. If you want, substitute your own Directive Thought, for example, “impress”, “report”, or “entertain”.

It might look something like this:

Think “Tell” them my name.


“Good Morning. My name is Kathryn Kellner.”

Think “Share” with the audience what I do and a goal I have in mind. 


“I am a communication strategist. My goal is to help people feel confident in communicating out loud the important ideas or thoughts that they have swirling around in their heads.”

Think “Reveal” something interesting about myself or my life.


“I have a mini donkey. He is really different from a horse. I am enjoying trying to figure him out because he is a complex creature. Toby is like a predator, but in a small donkey suit, and at the same time he loves to be scratched and hugged like a toddler. Interacting with Toby forces me to pay attention and to be curious. He is full of surprises.”

Now, imagine that you are speaking to an audience.

Before each action, silently think about what you will “tell, share, and reveal,”or substitute your own actionable intentions. 

Remember after your initial inhale to continue to take the time to speak with one breath plotted to one thought at a time. This formula can support you in your preparation of text or in improvisational communications. Controlling your breath is a key set up to clear communication.

Take the time to get acquainted with your breath as it is the fuel for verbalizing your thoughts!

Learner Milestones


  • Develop an awareness of the directive thought process when communicating
  • Practice the Think, Breathe, Speak technique to avoid fillers and to gather your thoughts


Back to Course

Foundation Course

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  1. Introduction
    11 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  2. The Breath-Thought Connection
    8 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  3. Physical Orientation
    16 Topics
    8 Quizzes
  4. Frame and Stance
    12 Topics
    6 Quizzes

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