Do you have a presentation for work coming up soon?
The one thing so many people do wrong when preparing for an important presentation is this: they mostly focus on the slide content and forget the number 1 thing that will actually make or break the presentation and it got NOTHING to do with the slides. Do you know what it is? Your vocal delivery and preparation of your body, mind and voice.
Let’s face it, the most important tool to deliver your presentation is your voice! So, if you want to know how to prepare and what to avoid then that’s what today’s blog is all about: The 3 most important things to consider before that big presentation.
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#Today is all about caring for YOUR best communication tool before that big presentation. What is it? Your body and voice of course!
I’m going to separate todays training into 3 different parts:
- What to avoid
- What to eat and drink
- How to prepare vocally for an optimal performance
TIP #1: WHAT TO AVOID
THE LEMON AND HONEY TEA MYTH .
Many people fall for the old wife’s tale of drinking tea with lemon before a speaking presentation. What most people don’t know is this: anything you drink doesn’t pass through the vocal folds so it has NO effect on the voice. Sorry to disappoint you. Look, drinking warm liquids like tea feels soothing and nice by all means but unless it’s an herbal blend that has particular healing properties to support your body, then tea won’t help. In fact, since many people drink caffeinated tea and not herbal tea, it can actually dehydrate you fast. So, stick to water to help hydrate your whole body before a presentation and start drinking at least 2 hours before you go on camera or on stage. Remember to Avoid anything that will dry out your body like coffee, alcohol and sodas.
OTHER FOODS TO AVOID: MUCUS MAKERS
Some foods cause excess mucus production. If you have excess mucus on the vocal folds while you are speaking, your voice will sound croaky and the sound will cut out. It will compel you to clear your throat and if it’s really troublesome, you may have to clear your throat several times during the first few minutes until it passes. This is very disturbing to the speaker of course, but equally disturbing to the audience. If you don’t know enough about what foods cause excess mucus production in the body, then it’s time you started a food journal. As soon as you eat, write down in your journal what you ate at what time. An hour later take note of how that food made you feel and if you find it creating more mucus in your nose or throat, then avoid it.
For me, I have to avoid dairy, wheat and orange juice before a performance, otherwise I have issues with mucus for at least the first 15 minutes which is extremely annoying.
OTHER FOODS TO AVOID: ENERGY SAPPERS
If you eat a heavy meal within an hour of a performance or presentation too, it can sap your energy and make it hard for you to perform at your best. We use a lot of mind and body power when we are presenting, and we need to be able to manage our energy efficiently for the whole presentation and beyond.
OTHER FOODS TO AVOID:
Spicy Foods: due to the extra mucus and stomach acid produced in some people.
Rich creamy pasta sauces: leaves you lethargic and lacking in energy and can contain dairy which exacerbates mucus production.
Too much fat or protein: Heavy calorie rich food can leave you sleepy and lacking in focus.
Sugar and sweets: cause a dip in energy after the initial sugar high, so should be avoided at all costs.
TIP #2: WHAT CAN I EAT?
So, what can I eat, you might be wondering! That’s easy. Simple, light meals are the best choice example chicken and salad, a handful of protein and vegetables, anything that is light, nourishing and simple that will not bog down your digestion and or slow down your thinking or your energy levels.
Vegetable juices, nuts, fruit, and eggs all make great choices for quick snacks. So, prepare your snack box ahead of time to make sure you don’t eat the wrong foods on the run!
TIP #3: VOICE PREPARATION TIPS
Many people get so tense and nervous before a presentation that they forget to allow their tummy to relax enough to breathe correctly. Tension can be our worst nightmare during a speaking or singing presentation so, knowing what your tension patterns are and how to let them go is paramount to success. The best way to prepare your body and voice for the big day is to do a proper vocal warm up routine every day for a week before your speaking gig. This will tune up your vocal instrument and prime it for a long speaking presentation.
During the week and days before hand, rest your voice as much as you can and be mindful when speaking to others. Keep your voice clear and strong when speaking but don’t push or force your voice because you will tire it out quickly and you may not have enough time to recover.
Many people feel vocal fatigue after a presentation too purely because they didn’t use their voice correctly during the speech. So, if you are having issues in this area, please book yourself in for a free consult to see if voice training is right for you.
Do not forget: Speak up. Speak out. Be ready to be heard because remember: YOUR VOICE MATTERS.