Nutrition Tips for Public Speakers

 

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Anastasis Tzanis, DipION mBANT CNHC, Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher

Gino Perrotte, MA Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking Instructor and Coach

 

Imagine that you have been asked to give a speech. How does that make you feel? If you are like most people, you probably are nervous. The good news is that there are techniques to reduce this anxiety and preparation is often at the heart of the process.

 

Practice, practice, practice

Public speaking instructor and coach Gino Perrotte advises his students and clients to practice their presentation 15 times before the actual event… five times reading through the presentation outline to become familiar with the material, five times in front of a mirror to rehearse eye contact, and five times in front of others to interact with a live audience. Nutritional Therapist and yoga teacher Anastasis Tzanis recommends that we add a fourth “practice” to Perrotte’s triad in order to better manage the stress of public speaking: Practice proper nutrition.

 

5 easy things to consider before “stepping on stage”

1. Stay hydrated. Public speaking requires us to perform under pressure. Since moderate dehydration can impair brain activity, consume adequate water up to an hour prior to the event so that you will be properly hydrated.

2. Avoid stimulants. Stimulants such as sugar and coffee are often abused prior to public speaking. They give an initial boost, but then cause you to have an energy crash. The best advice: refrain from stimulants completely. When in the eye of the storm you want to find peace, not get further excited.

3. Flush fear. In Chinese medicine fear sits in the kidneys. Have you noticed the race to the toilets soon after airplanes take off? In ancient China, soldiers were expected to pee prior to the battle. If you are consuming adequate water as recommended, you will need to visit the lady’s or men’s room prior to your next presentation. Fill yourself with confidence by emptying your bladder.

4. Maintain energy. The stress that comes with public speaking will partially (or completely) inhibit the function of the digestive system. It is a good idea to eat a small meal two to three hours prior to the presentation. You don’t want to start speaking after fasting for more than five hours as this will further increase your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and make you look even more nervous.

5. Manage stress. The organ in the body that manages our response to stress is the adrenals. Taking 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin B5 and an adaptogen herb can support adrenal function for a couple of hours. Tzanis’ favorite adaptogens are Ashwaganda, Boswellia and Licorice root.

 

Remember this

Public speaking can cause anxiety for a large number of people. Following the nutrition tips offered in this article can help you to manage the anxiety and present more confidently. When preparing for your next presentation, remember to practice, practice, practice, and practice proper nutrition.

 

About the authors

Anastasis Tzanis is a Nutritional Therapist and Nutrigenetics Counselor specializing on increasing energy levels and improving mental health. He is available for consultations in person at Belsize Health clinic in NW London & over skype. www.anastasistzanis.com. Contact him at atzanis@gmail.com.

Gino Perrotte is a university instructor for a variety of Human Communication courses including Public Speaking and Technical Presentations. His professional career is dedicated to communication coaching, consulting, and training. Learn more about Gino and the services he offers at www.rightbrainjourneys.com. Contact him at gino@rightbrainjourneys.com.

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