How to be a better public speaker using the Alexander Technique

Using the Alexander Technique is one of the most effective ways to help you become an elegant public speaker and connect with your audience. This 5 step process, identified by FM Alexander, can help you become a more polished speaker or get over stage fright.

Think of a sentence that you might begin your presentation with, such as “As I was leaving home this morning...”

1. Pause before you speak the sentence. Don’t say it yet.

2. Instead, say the Alexander Directions to yourself: I free my neck to allow my head to balance delicately at the top of the spine, to allow the torso to lengthen and widen.

3. Continue to say the Directions until you are fully engaged in the intent and purpose of them, and more committed to this new state in your system than achieving the result of speaking.

4. Then say to yourself, “I might speak, I might not” or “Shall I go on or not?” The point is to recognize how the thought of giving a presentation may tighten your neck and the rest of your body, and give yourself the option (in your imagination) of not speaking so you can notice your habits. 

5. Decide :

a. not to say the sentence and continue to direct

b. to do something completely different, like “lift your hand instead of speaking the sentence” and continue saying the directions

c. to say the sentence and keep saying the directions

Practicing these 5 steps will help you notice your habits, and you can replace them with the new, efficient habits which are more easeful. When you’re easeful, audiences connect with you more because they sense that you are enjoying yourself. 

These directions and the 5 steps have been modified by Jessica Santascoy and Brooke Lieb. The 5 steps as written by F. M. Alexander are on pages 45-46 in The Use of the Self.