Sleeping, eating and exercise: Yes, these really count in preparing for a speaking presentation

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Headlines have relevance when they relate directly to your life. “How to get ready for your next big speech” by Greg Wells in the Globe and Mail certainly caught my eye as I started thinking about how I would deliver an effective presentation at the Buildings Show on Nov. 29.

Earlier this week, I reported on a couple of fundamental rules (which require action well in advance of the speech). You need to prepare, relentlessly — and rehearse — and the speech should be built on stories, not dry facts and numbing power-point slides. However, Wells offers a few other tips:

Get a great sleep

“We encode memories when we sleep, so if you want ll that rehearsing to stick, sleeping will make it happen,” he writes.  Sleep also improves creativity and problem solving. To come up with new solutions to old problems or to answer tough questions with clarity and insight, make sleep a priority.”

There is merit, it seems, in doing (not just saying): “I’ll sleep on it.”

Eat (and drink) to perform

The advice includes: Ensuring you are well hydrated, and “use caffeine as a tool, not a crutch.” Apparently the best time to benefit from the caffeine boost is 30 to 60 minutes after you drink the stuff.

“Have a small meal with healthy carbohydrates (slow-digesting carbs packed full of nutrients and fibre), lean protein (lentils, legumes, quinoa, organic meat) and healthy fats (cold-water fatty wild fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut) about 90 to 20-minutes before your event.”  It will be interesting to see if I can replicate Wells’ go-to-meal before speaking: wild salmon, steamed spinach with olive oil and quinoa.

Exercise (activate the “mind-body connection”)

“As little as five minutes of exercise improves mental performance,” he writes. “Go for a walk before that presentation. Do a few flights of stairs.  If you need to solve a problem move your body. Stretch or lift some weights in the hour before you tackle the challenge.”

Obviously, none of the advice here is rocket science. If you take care of yourself, you’ll perform better. Now it is time for me to absorb these concepts and make it happen.

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