Public Speaking: Dealing with Distractions Tip #1: Physical Distractions: Be prepared and be comfortable.
One of the last things I do before taking the stage is to take a quick trip to the restroom to empty my bladder. It’s a habit learned from having to do the pee-pee dance on stage once following a hearty breakfast rich with water and orange juice. I raced through my presentation and ended five minutes early, clearly in a state of discomfort.
If you’re presenting, aim to be as physically prepared and comfortable as possible to eliminate any distractions. What can you do to minimize your discomfort and distraction to your audience? Too hot? Too cold? Too sleepy? Not feeling well? These worries and distractions can all throw a curveball into your delivery. Ahead of the show, take some preparations:
Make sure the room is the right temperature and that you’re comfortable.
Make sure you have some water nearby; many meeting planners set up several water bottles at the podium for the speaker.
Eat a good meal at least an hour before speaking, and ensure that your body is well-fed and nourished. Aim to eat foods that won’t cause gas or cause you to feel bloated or tired.
Take some deep breaths beforehand (or meditate) to quiet your mind and oxygenate your brain.
Use the restroom – even if you don’t feel it’s critical – before your talk.
Make sure you’ve taken your medication.
Your mind and body are reflecting your thoughts and actions. Consequently, they should be as prepared as possible. During my pre-talk restroom break, I often check my appearance in the mirror and give myself a quick self-affirming message that everything will be okay. Attitude makes the difference.