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Should You Use Alcohol to Calm Nerves before a Speech?

Learn if you should use alcohol to calm your nerves before giving a speech from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.

Transcript

People ask me all the time, "TJ, I'm nervous before giving this
presentation. It's an after dinner speech. Can I just take a shot or
two? I'll be so much more relaxed."

No! Put the booze away. Here's why. Alcohol can slow your memory
processing speed down. So you're already nervous anyway giving a speech
so it's harder for you to recall information. When you factor in the
alcohol, it can slow you down another step. And you're trying to
remember what to say, it can be an even more awkward pause.

The other problem with alcohol is sometimes it can make you a little warmer, so
you can break out in sweat. Some people actually blush and get red. That can make you look embarrassed.

And finally, the problem with alcohol is many people in the audience may be seeing you for the fist time. After you're done speaking, they're going to come up, shake your hand and introduce themselves to you. This may be the only time they
ever meet you face-to-face. Even if you've only had one drink, they're likely to smell that alcohol on your breath and say, "That guy is an alcoholic."

So for all those reasons, I would recommend just zero alcohol before
you speak. If you want to get over your nervousness, the answer is
practice on video. Rehearse. The answer is not to somehow feel better
and get a little sloshed.

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