PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

Even after thirty years of public speaking I occasionally get nervous.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does my mouth gets dry.   

The obvious solution is to pause occasionally for a sip of water.  I would do that except that the same nervousness that is robbing me of moisture is causing my hands to shake a bit.  Lifting a glass of water and trying to drink is not a good idea.  Even if I don’t spill the water, everyone will see the shakiness and know that I am nervous.  I prefer not to advertise the fact.

I could bite the tip of my tongue.  That would produce saliva—along with some pain.

Or, I could do like beauty pageant contestants and smear some Vaseline on my teeth, but that helps with smiling more than it does with speaking.

The solution I prefer is a variation on a desert survival technique.

If you are fighting dryness while in the desert, wedging a pebble up in your cheek will produce saliva.  In a public speaking situation a small mint, like the kind you can buy at Starbucks, will generate the same results.  Put it up in your cheek and just leave it there.  You’ll get the moisture you need without shaky drinks of water.

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