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Before Speaking: Eat/<i>Don’t</i> Eat These . . .

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Foods and beverages consumed can have positive or negative effects on your talk.


Foods and Beverages.

Foods and beverages consumed, the day before and day of your presentation, can have positive or negative effects on your talk.

Have you ever heard this statement? “Before I deliver my presentation, a glass of wine or a cocktail will calm my nerves.”


If you really believe alcohol will calm your nerves and make you a better presenter, the next time you’re to undergo an operation, suggest the surgeon has a couple drinks before picking up their scalpel and going to work on you.

Actually, alcohol has a negative affect on memory. If you are nervous, you’ll already have a tougher time remembering things. Add alcohol, and remembering what want to say gets worse. Too much alcohol can effect breathing, clear thinking, gestures, speaking, and concentration. All those functions need to be sharp for a great presentation.

Another important point: If you have only one drink, alcohol will be on your breath. All the folks you meet before and after your presentation don’t know if you’ve had one, or many. You do not want then to remember that, do you!

Perhaps have a drink, after the event, to celebrate how your crushed it, but not before.

Here is a list of NO! Foods to avoid and YES! Foods to consume.

NO! Foods

  1. Alcoholic Drinks.

  2. Only to celebrate afterwards.

  3. Dairy Products.

  4. These tend to build up mucous in your throat, promoting repeated (and distracting) clearing of the throat.

  5. Milk.

  6. Ice Cream.

  7. Cheese.

  8. Yogurt.

  9. Orange Juice.

  10. Can also cause a thickening of saliva and result in constant swallowing.

  11. Something New.

  12. Yes, you heard it is a delicacy and all the locals love it. However, if your tummy doesn’t recognize it, there could be trouble ahead!

  13. Fatty Foods.

  14. Hard to digest.

  15. Hamburgers.

  16. Fries.

  17. Pizza.

  18. Caffeinated Drinks

  19. These beverages act as diuretics. You don’t want to stop your talk to run to the restroom.

  20. Coffee.

  21. For some, it also causes nervousness.

  22. Soda.

  23. Low-Sugar and Low-Carb Snacks with sugars and alcohols

  24. These ingredients may cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

  25. You don’t need those ‘distractions’ while giving a presentation!

  26. Beans and some vegetables.

  27. Avoid cabbages, broccoli, onions, leeks, radishes, and potatoes.

  28. Gas and bloating can follow meals with these foods.

YES! Foods

  1. Water.

  2. Keep hydrated because 60% of our body is water.

  3. Dehydration could cause fainting and muscle cramps.

  4. Have a bottle with a cap, not a glass, at the lectern or nearby.

  5. The water should be at room temperature.

  6. Too hot or too cold has negative effects on vocal chords.

  7. It help remedy a dry mouth, plus is an opportunity to pause. Pausing allows the audience to digest what you’ve presented and gives you an opportunity to check your notes.

  8. Salads.

  9. Vegetables.

  10. Fruits.

  11. Bananas.

  12. Bananas contain glucose, sucrose and fructose, three naturally occurring sugars that provide energy.

  13. They are an excellent source of potassium that helps normalize our heartbeat and regulate the water balance in our bodies.

  14. Apples.

  15. Whole Grain Foods.

  16. Bread.

  17. Crackers.

  18. Oatmeal.

  19. Popcorn.

  20. Salmon.

  21. High Omega-3 essential fats that help with focus and concentration, good to have for that great presentation!

  22. Eggs.

  23. Rich in choline, they power up the start of your day and prevent you from cracking under pressure. The nutrient increases the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps minimize anxiety.

  24. Cashews.

  25. These are a good source of L-tryptophan, the amino acid that is necessary for healthy serotonin production, making them a great snack to help you feel calm and in control.

Follow these suggestions for foods and beverages to consume before speaking and your presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!

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