Asking your beloved one to marry you will undoubtedly bring along the necessary nerves. What if you suddenly find yourself at a loss for words? How can you avoid being overwhelmed by a complete blackout? We asked Stefanie Van Moen, founder and speaker coach at Vox Consult. She gives you 5 tips on how to get that big question out of your mouth!
1. Make sure you have a thorough preparation
Perhaps you would like to introduce your proposal with a few nice words, or look back on the best anecdotes about you as a couple. Should you rehearse your proposal a little beforehand or just go for a spontaneous impulse? According to Stefanie, it’s best to choose the first option:
“Think beforehand about the things you definitely want to mention during your proposal. Stand up straight and imagine that you are standing in front of your partner. What feeling do you want to convey? What do you want to convey? Practice your text out loud, and hear yourself say the words. Your opening sentence is very important here. If you use it during your proposal, the rest often comes naturally! So don’t stick to a (too) literal script. Do you want to get on your knee during the proposal? Then sit in this position already, to avoid potentially awkward moments. Careful, make sure your partner is not around…”.
2. Focus on the proper breathing technique
How do you avoid starting to rattle nervously during your proposal? According to Stefanie, proper breathing technique plays a big role here:
“Breathing is the foundation of everything! You may have the best text or the funniest anecdotes, but if your breathing is nervous or stagnant, it really doesn’t come across. Inhale briefly before you start talking and then exhale for a very long time. This signals your body to relax. Do not start with a deep inhalation as this will lead to an increased rate of speech until you run out of breath. There is then a chance that your partner will not have understood you properly.
People often think that a blackout happens ‘suddenly’. Nothing could be further from the truth. When your breathing goes out of control and your heart rate skyrockets, extra stress hormones are released. As a result, you have little or even no access to your cortex memory or improvisational ability. So it’s safe to say that proper breathing does become truly indispensable for a successful proposal.”
3. Consciously build in breaks
Stefanie also has a tip ready for people who would stutter:
“When you are nervous, you might start to stutter or stumble over your words. This is because you are often already thinking about the next sentence that is coming up. Therefore, insert short pauses. Don’t dare to say anything, build up tension. For you, these pauses may seem like an eternity, but for your overwhelmed partner they certainly can’t hurt. Dare to put on the brakes, then the impact of your beautiful question is still so great!”
4. Stand -literally- strong in your shoes
How do you make sure you come across as confident and radiant during your proposal? Stefanie encourages you to rely on your body:
“Beforehand, try standing in the so-called ‘power pose’ or ‘superman pose’. Stretch yourself open, pull your shoulders back, stick your chin forward and smile. This way, your brain becomes convinced that everything will be okay. In fact, if you stand small, your breathing becomes more restricted again and you create the opposite effect.”
5. Come with a plan… and go with the flow
Stefanie has lots of technical tips for your perfect proposal, but she concludes:
“Come with a plan… and go with the flow! That is absolutely my favorite quote! Things can always turn out differently than you imagined. So don’t necessarily stick to the perfect plan for a successful proposal. Let go of your script if it feels right and… enjoy your beautiful moment together! Enjoy, smile, look your lover in the eye and tell him or her what you feel. In that special moment, you are the only two people on earth…”
About Stefanie Van Moen
Stefanie Van Moen is a speaker coach – she is a voice therapist & coach behind Vox Consult and an accredited Insights Discovery® practitioner.
Her passion? Coaching speakers to confidently deliver their message powerfully and in connection with their audience. It is her goal as a voice coach to give you a solid foundation in voice and presentation techniques, so you have the space to add your own personal touch, individuality and vision. She will work with you to find your unique storytelling style and speaking techniques so you can sound the way you want, every time during a presentation, speech, lesson or recording.
Want to discover more tips from Stefanie Van Moen? Then be sure to take a look at Stefanie’s latest book: ‘Speaking with impact’!