Staying hydrated before a presentation offers serious benefits for a speaker. Firstly, not being hydrated can lead to dry mouth, dizziness, fainting, weakness, and confusion. Secondly, the more hydrated you are, the more saliva you will produce, which contains bacteria-busters that prevent bad breath. Thirdly, the right hydration can prevent a scratchy, dry throat. Do you want to have bad breath and faint during a presentation? We didn’t think so.

The Miracle Drink

It won’t irritate your throat, it’s zero calories, it’s extremely good for you, and it will hydrate you right away. Yes, it’s water. H2O is simply the best drink to reach for before a presentation. Keep a water bottle glued to your side before the presentation, but avoid using it while you are speaking.

Green or Herbal Tea

Green and herbal teas have anti-bacterial properties that can reduce bad breath as they hydrate. If your throat is irritated or scratchy, add a bit of honey to your tea. Black tea is also a caffeinated option, but keep in mind that the caffeine may irritate a nervous stomach. It’s best to stick to green or herbal.

Hot or Cold?

The debate rages on about which temperature is best for the throat. Cold drinks can cause your vocal chords to constrict and cause hoarseness. Overly hot beverages can temporarily get rid of phlegm, but may be damaging to your throat. We recommend finding a happy medium with room temperature (or close to room temperature) beverages.

Soda Water

If your stomach is bothering you, consider drinking unsweetened soda water beforehand. Sugar causes mucous build-up and should be avoided, so don’t reach for your favorite sweetened soda. However, avoid drinking soda water too closely to your presentation; the fizz may induce shameful burps.

What Not To Drink

Frankly, there are a lot of drinks that you should avoid before a presentation. Don’t reach for anything that could cause mucous buildup like milk and other dairy products. Beware of things that dry or irritate the throat like alcohol, spicy drinks, or coffee. And finally, the jury is still out on beverages with citrus; on one hand, they can clear mucous. On the other, they can bother your throat.

An Emergency Gargle for Throat Trouble

Is your throat suffering? Do you feel like coughing all of the time? Here is a recipe for a gargle that will fix you up. Simply combine 1/4th teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of warm water, and gargle in the back of your throat for as long as you can stand it.

Hydrate, be mindful of your throat, and don’t panic. The more hydrated you are, the better you will feel, and the stronger your presentation will be.

Question: What hydration tactics do you use before a big presentation?

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3 responses to “What to Drink Before A Presentation”

  1. jonstallings says:

    As one who suffers with chronic sinus issues I usually keep a water bottle handy. Prefer room temperature. Although it is not for hydration I use a throat spray called "Vocal Eze" about 15 to 30 minutes beforehand. It is actually marketed to singers Curious if any other speakers use a throat spray before hand.

  2. […] mouth is another side effect of the fight-or-flight reaction and the only way to overcome it is to drink plenty of water.  It is generally common practice for a jug of water and a glass to be placed out for any public […]

  3. Carl Sanford says:

    Nobody has mentioned drinking alcohol, when surely it is the most burning question for anxious presenters to be! Is it right or wrong to consume a small amount before a presentation? just putting it out there.

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