I learned a new habit recently that has had a surprising and
positive impact in my life: speaking from the diaphragm.
Breathing and speaking from the diaphragm will give you a
more compelling and powerful voice--a definite plus when
roleplaying--and it also gives you self-confidence and
greater control. Try it and you'll know what I mean.
Practice these instructions before going to the game table.
First, take several deep breaths. Breath in deeply through
your nose and push out your stomach/mid-section as you
inhale. Don't stick your upper chest out as you intake air--
that's not your diaphragm. And don't stick out your tummy
either. The diaphragm is in between your stomach and lungs
and that's what should "take in the air." The first several
times I did this I was not used to it and there was a little
discomfort, so I did not breathe as deeply. Keep at it and
the area will relax/strengthen up over time.
Next, speak out loud while putting a little pressure on your
diaphragm. I picture it as tensing my stomach for an
incoming punch and you will need to try it a few times
before getting it 100% right. Use a book or magazine article
Make it a habit to always speak from your diaphragm. Your
muscles will build in that area and it will get much easier
What are the benefits?
The tone of your voice drops and becomes more compelling.
Your voice will not rise in pitch, as it does under stress.
I call this "talking from your head instead of your gut."
The way you breathe will change. Shallow breathing, which is
typical when "talking through your head" reduces oxygen flow
to the brain--and game masters need all the brain power they
can get to keep on top of things.
I also noticed, as my abdomen toned up a bit after awhile,
and just from the feeling I got by breathing that way, an
increase in self-confidence and a greater sense of self-