You’ve worked hard. You’ve prepared well. You’re passionate about your message. You love your audience and want to improve their lives, fuel their joy, and bring them hope.
Then hello, dry-mouth.
M.a.d.d.e.n.i.n.g. Trust me, I know this well. And it’s distracting—not only to you, but to your audience.
You’ve been there. You gulp hard after every two sentences to get moisture flowing, but instead get tumbleweeds. You “tut” too. We all excel in the tut. Tut is that suction sound you make with your tongue at the roof of your mouth after you gulp and start your next sentence:
“Hi everyone [gulp, tut]. It’s great [gulp, tut] to be with you here today [gulp, tut]. Let me begin [gulp, tut] by…”.
Maddening, I say. And on top of that, your mouth sounds sticky as you speak too.
Shall I go on?
Okay, one more. Your lips grab onto your teeth like windshield wipers on a dry windshield.
Or maybe that’s just me?
Few consider the near inevitability of dry-mouth before speaking. Dry-mouth is typically a given if you’re not accustomed to public speaking. At least that was my experience. And it’s always lurking and pesky for those who are experienced.
So what to do? The good news is dry mouth is not inevitable—for the inexperienced and otherwise. You can get out ahead of it by planning ahead.
Here are the top 3 ways of preventing dry-mouth that I practice 24 – 36 hours before I speak (I recommend a full 36 hours):
1) Avoid salty, fried foods.
I love Buffalo Wings. I remember eating a dozen on a Friday night before I preached four weekend services at my church. My mouth was a desert the whole time. I couldn’t down enough water. Lesson learned. Learn from me. Wait until after you speak to indulge.
2) Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Both are diuretics. They strip your body, especially your mouth, of moisture. If you’re a coffee person like yours truly, abstaining from it for a couple of days is an impossible task. Fair enough. You can get away with drinking it about 8 hours before you speak. After two decades of experience I can handle coffee during the event. But I follow it up with bottled water. If you have to have your cup(s) of coffee, follow it with two glasses of water per cup. Speaking of which….
3) Pound the water.
The day before, after your coffee, down a minimum of 64-ounces throughout the day. The day of your opportunity, down the same. I usually go about 100 ounces.
Do the above and you are ahead of the game.
But what if you fall off the wagon? What if after doing the above your mouth still goes all cotton on the day of your deal?
Got you covered. That’s the next post.
Anything you would add? Got a question? Do share.
Regarding public speaking, death is more attractive to me!!!
In college I avoided Freshman Oral English until the last semester of my senior year. Upon my completion of my speech, the professor commented, “Miss, the best part of your speech was when you paused”. That was in 1972, and I still remember those fateful words. Ha. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I went on to teach and preach to 6th graders for almost 3 decades. God can do wonders, even if the audience is clueless!
Amazing story! And yes He can.