Being able to ground oneself is a huge part of any kind of public speaking or performance training, but what does it actually mean? In this video, I talk about what it means to feel “grounded” (and also what it doesn’t mean) and how to “ground yourself.”
First of all: Why is grounding yourself important? When you are grounded, you tend to have more of a sense of ease, or of centeredness. It becomes easier to breathe, to listen, and the voice becomes more powerful. All pretty crucial stuff for communication! It can also lead to a sense of calm, although feeling calm is not necessary to grounding yourself. This is a key distinction, especially when you are communicating in high stakes situations, like in performance or in a formal presentation. It’s possible to be grounded within whatever emotional experience you’re having, whether calm or otherwise. So no need to put any pressure on yourself to calm down, which can often feel quite destabilizing and have the opposite effect of grounding you.
While chasing a state of calm can be destabilizing and hard to hold onto, grounding yourself is quite easy. There is no metaphor here. Grounding yourself literally means— where do you feel the ground? Where do you feel the support of the surface you are standing/sitting/lying on, and can you allow yourself to notice and receive that support? That is what it is to be grounded.
Feeling the support of the ground is also different than “planting”. Planting is what people often do when they are trying to ground themselves, where they give themselves an extra push into their ground. This extra effort can create a lot of tension in the body that can make it harder to breathe, speak and generally be at ease. And the good news is— it doesn’t have to be that hard. Gravity is a pretty powerful force. It will do the grounding work for you— your only job is to notice and receive it.
Grounding yourself is a tool that is available to you anytime, anywhere. No fancy equipment or hours of prep time needed. It can be used before, during and after communication contexts to help you stay present and responsive. No one has to know you’re doing it! Such a small thing that changes everything.
Check out my podcast for some free warm ups to help you feel grounded.