How to Stop a Dry Mouth When Speaking
Speaking with a dry mouth is like lifting weights when dehydrated.
Each lift feels more difficult to do.
Each word feels more difficult to get out.
A dry mouth while speaking cannot fully be fixed.
However, it can be severely reduced.
By focusing on the basics, your mouth will remain fluid and the words will come out beautifully.
The fixes in this article are practical.
Let’s first start off with water.
Hydration vs Overhydration
I was 22 years old when I learned about overhydration.
I wanted to look more shredded.
However, I had too much water weight.
I thought I looked bloated because I didn’t drink enough water.
So you know what I did?
I drank a lot of water.
I was going to the restroom every hour.
Each time I came out, I felt proud.
I thought the water weight will fall off and my abs would show.
Instead, the opposite happened.
Drinking all that water made me more dry-mouthed.
I also began getting headaches!
That’s when I learned about the concept of overhydration.
How much water you should drink is beyond the scope of this article.
But one framework that came in handy for me was:
- A light hint of yellow in the urine is good.
Dark yellow urine indicates dehydration.
While crystal clear urine indicates overhydration.
By finding the right amount of water for your body type, the dry mouth reduces dramatically.
Speaking For a Long Time
After getting the water thing sorted out, I thought a dry mouth while speaking was a thing of the past.
I was wrong.
A few years go by…
I start a YouTube channel.
Sometimes, I record YouTube videos in bulk.
Since my channel is based on impromptu speaking, I don’t do any form of editing.
It’s a simple talk from beginning to end without interruptions.
Imagine that I do 4 videos in series that are 10 minutes long.
That means I had to speak for 40 minutes straight.
While beginning the 3rd video, I’m getting cotton-mouthed.
The good kind of hydrated too.
The reason why is because I am exerting effort.
Since the talks are impromptu, I am requiring added mental energy.
Also, I am physically delivering the talks, which require the mind, breath, and body to be aligned.
If you’re going to be talking for a long time, then it’s important to have some water by your side.
The sips build lubrication in the mouth that allows you to reduce the effects of a dry mouth.
A Poor Lifestyle
Too much alcohol and weed will lead to a dry mouth.
Notice, I said ‘too much’ alcohol or weed.
I didn’t say ‘any.’
Because I know speakers who drink.
I know speakers who smoke.
However, they have crazy durability on how long they can talk.
This goes to show that alcohol and weed are not the problems.
But alcohol and weed done in excess is the problem.
Too much of either causes rapid dehydration.
This goes back to the initial problem with the mismanagement of water.
We can even add high-sodium foods as something to watch out for.
Cut back on the excess.
When you feel good, you speak well.
When you feel bad, you speak tired.
The night before a speech, there is often speech anxiety.
The eyes feel watery.
The palms feel sweaty.
Body feels warm.
And the mouth is dry.
This is why nervous speakers are drinking a lot of water and coffee on speech day.
It’s partly because they are trying to release the nervous energy somewhere.
Also, because their mouth is noticeably drier.
It’s normal for speakers to have a cottonmouth on the day of the talk.
A dry mouth may lead to even more nerves.
Here’s the tip:
- Rather than trying to kill the nerves, embrace them!
You can’t always control feelings.
But you can always control perception.
So if you are struggling with stress-related dry mouth issues, then reframe the nerves from:
- Speech Anxiety -> Speech Excitement
You’ll now have the right perspective of a dry mouth on speech day.
A lot of times, your mouth is not really dry.
Instead, your lips are chapped.
And when the lips are chapped, it gives the illusion of a dry mouth.
There have been a few times when I’m about to record a YouTube video.
I feel properly hydrated.
However, I notice my lips are chapped.
I go through my pockets and can’t find my Chapstick.
I search in my room, but still can’t find it.
In my car?
That’s when I think if I should drive to CVS.
And I’m like:
‘Quit being a baby and just talk to the camera.’
2 minutes into recording the video, something feels off.
The dry lips are making it difficult to smile.
When I’m unable to smile, my face gets stiff.
The stiffness brings more conscious awareness to the mouth region.
My mouth feels drier and drier…
The problem is surface level.
It’s the lips.
However, I’m being given the illusion that the problem is deeper.
On the mouth level.
Once I get the chapped lips issue resolved, the dry mouth instantly disappears.
Invest in a Chapstick.
And buy backups!
Just like a sock disappears when we wash it, a Chapstick disappears when we need it the most.
Overcome a Dry Mouth While Speaking
With communication, everything is a web.
It’s easy to overlook the details.
But when you overlook the details, it becomes more difficult to get the words out.
Therefore, focus on the tiny:
- Stay hydrated.
- Cut back on excess drugs, alcohol, and high sodium foods.
- Have the right perspective of stress.
- And purchase a damn Chapstick!
For more practical insights into speaking skills, be sure to check out my book:
- Speak Easy: How to be Articulate, Assertive, and Audacious Around People
This book teaches you how to speak with flow rather than force.
The words will just pour out of you…
GET SPEAK EASY HERE: