Alcohol and Public Speaking – Don’t Drink and Speak

Public Speaking Don't Drink & Speak

A recent article on public speaking recommended that nervous speakers have a drink (one drink) before speaking and I couldn’t disagree more. Public speaking like any other form of focused communication demands us in top form and drinking (even one drink) leaves us far from poised for success. Why am I so vehemently against such and idea? It is simple alcohol is the enemy of successful speaking and a crutch not to relied upon for those who want to succeed. Here is why:

Alcohol and a Clear Focused Mind

It doesn’t take more that a drink for you to realize that you feel more “relaxed” under the influence of alcohol but it doesn’t mean you actually perform better. Fact is, our performance may not be better quite the opposite. For this reason I look at alcohol in any amount as a crutch that keeps us from actually improving our skill and learning real valid comping mechanisms.

Alcohol and the Voice

Alcoholic beverages are among many beverages and foods that wreak havoc on the human vocal chords. Truth is, we need our voice as it is a major part of the power of our presentations. For example, without the power of vocal variety we cannot deliver our points of emphasis, our emotional intro or our solemn conclusion. It is much like having to deliver our speech in a straight jacked would do to our ability to use body language.

Speaking & Drinking Don’t Mix

So before you call me an killjoy or a prude I suggest you realize I do enjoy beer just AFTER speaking and NEVER before. Alcohol is an improper crutch to lean on when wanting to deal with your public speaking anxiety. Some of my many visualization, relaxation and centering techniques will help you to be an effective speaker despite any anxiety you may have had in the past. Learning to grow beyond your fear or anxiety of public speaking with health techniques not crutches the impede your performance and personal/professional growth.

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Joseph Guarino is a professional public speaker, trainer and owner of the Institute of Public Speaking a Boston based international public speaking & leadership training organization. As a seasoned public speaking trainer & professional speaker he enjoys helping other succeed in this worthy and rewarding craft. The Institute of Public Speaking offers a variety of public speaking courses for individuals (1 on 1 training), executive speech coaching, one day public speaking bootcamps, advanced public speaking bootcamps and public speaking seminars for corporations & groups of any size.
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