What to Eat and Not Eat Before a Presentation
You are what you eat.
I’m sure you have heard that quote before.
Well, that quote holds very true leading up to a speech.
Drinking too much coffee normally causes anger and jitteriness.
Now imagine having jitteriness when you are already feeling nervous before your talk.
The quivering voice will get much worse.
In this article, I am going to suggest what to eat and what not to eat before a speech.
This article is based on subjective experience, data accumulated from 5+ years in Toastmasters, along with working with clients leading up to a speech.
First, let’s talk about the importance of food on the mind.
The Importance of Food
Food plays a large role on the mindset.
You’ll notice that if you are eating junk for a long period of time, then there will be this lethargic feeling that sucks the life out of you.
If you’re someone who is already nervous leading up to a speech, then any variable that can be used to your advantage should be leveraged.
And food is one of those variables, homie.
The variables do not need to be altered in an unrealistic way.
Where you are waking up in the morning to drink a protein shake.
Just understand that food plays a role on your mindset.
And the role can be beneficial or destructive.
What NOT to Eat Before a Speech
Let’s start off with what to avoid first:
- Overly greasy food.
- Highly processed food.
- Excessive coffee.
Each person’s body is different.
A person with a fast metabolism may be able to digest greasy food quickly before getting called on stage.
However, I wouldn’t take the risk.
Greasy food makes you feel a tad bit slow.
When you feel a tad bit slow, it becomes difficult to project the voice.
Plus, you may feel and look bloated.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel bloated… I don’t feel too confident.
With coffee, it’s smarter to sip rather than chug.
Some people chug on coffee when they are nervous.
Sort of like biting their nails.
Too much caffeine leads to racing thoughts.
Racing thoughts lead to a shortened breath.
A shortened breath leads to more racing thoughts.
The cycle of toxicity.
Soda falls under a similar context.
Too many bubbles in your drink may lead to too much burping in your speech…
What to Eat Before a Speech
I’ll keep it simple:
- Eat food that has few ingredients on the label.
- Drink water.
There is no and.
These are the 2 main tips.
- Chicken, broccoli, and some water = A Quick Meal.
- Some almonds mixed with fruit = A Quick Meal.
- Salmon and some vegetables = A Quick Meal.
‘Why are you keep saying a quick meal for?’
A quick meal is my terminology for a small meal.
You should be able to get through this meal quickly.
Even if you are eating healthy food, if you eat a lot of it, then chances are you will feel sluggish.
That belly is going to be sticking out.
‘How much do you think I should eat up until?’
You should eat up until 75% full or less.
That will allow you to feel a lot of energy.
We won’t go into too much detail with the brand names, complex or simple carbs, the seasoning, and all that in this article.
Just optimize for:
- Fewer ingredients.
- And a quick meal.
If you need a science degree to understand the food label, then postpone that meal for AFTER your speech.
Few readers will be able to resonate with this section.
But fasted speeches are what I normally do.
I go to a speech hungry.
‘What?! Don’t you feel tired?’
As a matter of fact, no.
I feel more energized.
It’s unique, but my body has the most energy when I am fasting.
Fasting allows some primal part of me to be engaged.
As the stomach growls, I feel more zoned in.
A lot of people will not resonate with what I am saying right now, but 1 or 2 readers are like:
‘That’s me! I get a lot of energy when I’m hungry too.’
If you are someone who responds well to fasting, I do have a tip.
Play around with the water intake.
Since you are not getting too many carbs, drinking some water may cause you to pee a lot.
And you’ll have a cotton mouth.
I can’t tell you the exact amount of water to take since each body is different.
Just play around.
If the mouth is too dry, then drink more.
But avoid over-hydrating.
‘Over-hydrating is a thing?’
And it leads to the similar uncomfortable effects as being dehydrated.
Tinker, experiment, and find the right amount of water for you until the speech.
Book to Learn More About Public Speaking
Public speaking is a complex system.
Which means there are a lot of parts that create the whole.
- There is the speech-building process.
- Practicing the speech and eliminating the superfluous details.
- Recording yourself giving the talk.
- Wearing the right clothes for speech day.
- Eating the right thing or not eating anything at all.
- Delivering the talk.
But don’t let the complexity fool you.
Behind the chaos is simplicity holding it all together.
If you want to learn more about public speaking, then be sure to check out:
This book will allow you to keep the important thing the important thing, so the complexity does not intimidate you.
‘What is the important thing?’
The speech, of course!
In the Speaking Wizard, you will be taken on a journey to learn more about:
- How to turn speech anxiety into speech excitement.
- How to dress like a winner for your talk.
- Practical ways to create your speech fast.
- How to practice your speech efficiently.
- And finally, how to deliver your talk to inspire change in others.