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You know the feeling right when you get up to speak and your mouth feels so dry you feel as though you’re in the middle of the Sahara desert? You know logically you are in the conference room or behind the screen on a virtual call, perhaps someone has turned the heating up to full? Why is your mouth so dry? Why are your lips almost stuck together? The idea of speaking is impossible without drinking a gallon of water first!
Many of us feel slightly bewildered when it comes to presenting virtually and due to its recent surge in popularity we know it’s here to stay. Virtual presenting can cause ‘public speaking monkeys’ These can make a presenters mouth become dry due to worries and nerves they may be experiencing. In turn, this is likely to affect a presenter’s ability to speak with confidence and clarity. Find out more on how to overcome your virtual presenting public speaking monkeys here.
Firstly, if you are speaking a lot and using lots of brainpower you need to stay well hydrated and drink tepid (not cold) water often. Secondly, if you are worried about presenting, your mouth will be drier than normal because of the physical symptoms associated with nerves. However, whereas adrenaline can sometimes benefit us, telling yourself that you are nervous can be detrimental as described in our blog: “Why the word ‘nervous’ should be banned”
When you get stressed or anxious your body thinks you are in danger and reacts in a physical way – your heart rate increases and blood pressure goes up which leads to a constricting of blood vessels and a drying up of mucous membranes in the eyes and mouth. Hormones like Adrenaline are released and your body responds with all sorts of physical reactions which is great if you are just about to get into a physical fight. BUT because public speaking isn’t actually a physical threat, these symptoms like dry mouth and a racing heart can actually hinder rather than help the situation.
You are a professional, you know your stuff so why do you get such a dry mouth before speaking and how can you get rid of it?
It’s good to know that your mind and body are connected which means that in order to stop the symptoms it is wise to address both, the mindset and the physical aspects too.
Mindset – we teach people how to have a more positive mindset and tame their ‘Public Speaking Monkeys‘. The monkeys are those unconscious voices of doubt that let you know it’s time to get nervous and start the physical chain reaction. Stop the reaction from starting in the first place, stop the downward spiral of symptoms and no more dry mouth (or other public speaking speech anxiety symptoms).
Physical aspects – Having your body in an upright position with your feet firmly connected to the floor is a great way to feel grounded and confident (you can learn more on presenter stance in our other blog here which contains free video training). You can use the techniques we teach whether you are sitting or standing. Physical aspects will facilitate you accessing the right mindset in addition to supporting your body to react positively by keeping your heart rate and blood pressure calm and thus producing an appropriate amount of saliva.