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.