Are You a Healthy Speaker?
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”– Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and author
Earlier last week, I was in the ranks of the walking sick. I wasn’t ill enough to restrict myself to my bed, but I was sick enough to know that something was wrong. Fortunately, my system straightened itself out by the end of the week.
I thought of other speakers who may be sick and how it affects their speaking. Perhaps you are one.
Maintaining good health is essential for speakers for several reasons, as it directly influences their ability to perform effectively and consistently. Here are three key reasons why maintaining good health positively affects your speaking:
Optimal performance comes from having the physical stamina and mental sharpness to respond wholly and competently to whatever happens in your presentation.
Public speaking engagements can be demanding, often requiring speakers to stand for extended periods, travel, and engage with diverse audiences.
Physical fitness and overall health contribute to increased stamina, allowing speakers to maintain energy levels throughout their presentations.
I made some life changes not too long ago for the better and am religious in my morning walks. I had a blood test done at the doctor last week. My blood pressure dropped twenty points to just above the normal range compared to my previous doctor visit, and I had lost five pounds.
I know the life changes I have made, plus my daily walks, have added to my physical stamina.
This stamina allows us to be the dynamic, engaging, and entertaining speakers we are.
A close relationship between our physical and mental fitness contributes to our mental sharpness.
You need to be mentally sharp to perform your best as a speaker and, thus, offer the audience what they want and need.
Good health supports cognitive function and mental clarity. Speakers need to think on their feet, recall information, and respond to audience questions effectively.
A healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and sufficient sleep, enhances mental sharpness and overall cognitive performance.
Audiences love speakers who have the versatility to adapt their presentation to the audience, answer audience questions cogently, and, yes, entertain the audience. Mental sharpness provides you with the energy and cognition to do this.
So, your optimal performance in your speaking is what you should strive for.
You should also be striving for consistent engagement with your audience.
Being consistent in engaging your audience depends on your emotional well-being and reliability.
Public speaking can be emotionally taxing. Health and well-being play a crucial role in managing stress and anxiety associated with high-pressure situations.
Speakers who prioritize their mental and emotional health are better equipped to handle the challenges of their profession and maintain consistency in their engagement with audiences.
Before takeoff, flight attendants brief the commercial plane passengers on what to do if there is a sudden drop in air pressure. If you have a child with you, they tell the passengers to put on your oxygen mask and then put it on your child.
It is the same thing for you as a speaker. If your emotional well-being is not 100%, your ability to help your audience will be impaired.
So, if your emotional well-being is good or better, you can engage your audience better. If it is fair or worse, you won’t.
Your reliability will keep your audiences coming back.
Remaining healthy ensures that speakers can fulfill their commitments reliably. Illness or fatigue can disrupt schedules and impact the quality of presentations.
A healthy speaker is more likely to meet professional obligations consistently, building a reputation for reliability and professionalism.
Your health issues will affect your reliability. A speaker with a reliability problem doesn’t get booked.
When my four children were growing up, I told them the same thing repeatedly when disciplining them – “I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.”
They knew I was reliable with my discipline, and I would treat each of them the same way. That was all it took. There was no question in their minds about the consequence if they committed an infraction of the house rules. I was reliable to them.
Heed the following as a speaker. Do what you say you will do. Event planners will thank you for this.
So, your optimal performance in your speaking and consistent engagement with your audience is to what you should be striving for.
You could be speaking for quite some time, decades, maybe. You should be striving for speaking longevity and career sustainability.
Longevity and Career Sustainability
Your longevity in the speaking profession depends on planning for your career longevity. Your sustainability in our profession depends on your ability to be adaptable
Public speaking is often a long-term career. Maintaining good health is vital for sustaining a successful and enduring presence in the industry.
Longevity in the field allows speakers to build a solid reputation, establish a loyal audience, and evolve professionally.
It has been said that your health is like money. You don’t think about it until you don’t have it.
You may remember the movie Apollo 13. It was about the Apollo 13 mission that was aborted due to technical difficulties. You may remember the famous quote from Gene Kranz, the NASA Chief Flight Director for the Apollo 13 mission, in the movie. When the problem was uncovered, he quickly gathered the ground engineers and got them to work on immediate problem solutions. Gene Kranz said before he sent the engineers off, “Failure is not an option.”
You should consider failure not an option in your speaking career. This attitude will help you overcome the inevitable “bumps in the road” during your speaking career.
The ability to adapt to changes in the speaking landscape, such as new technologies, audience expectations, and industry trends, is crucial.
Good health supports adaptability by providing the physical and mental resilience needed to navigate evolving challenges and remain relevant.
You have probably heard the saying, “The only thing that doesn’t change is change.”
It’s true. In your speaking career, there will always be new events at which to speak, new technology to help you deliver your message with more impact to your audience, and speaking to new audiences. Your ability to adapt and thrive with these changes will determine your speaking career altitude.
Professional speakers who prioritize their health are better positioned to deliver optimal performance, engage consistently with their audience, and sustain a successful career over the long term.
Good health is an investment in both the personal well-being of the speaker and the overall success of their professional endeavors.
Good health. As a speaker, don’t leave home without it!
Call to Action
Maintain a healthy life to
Optimize your speaking performance by building your physical stamina and mental sharpness
Find ways in your presentations to actively engage your audience by ensuring your emotional well-being is good and being reliable to yourself and your audience
Add to the longevity and sustainability of your speaking career
“Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out.”– Jack LaLanne, American professional fitness coach
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”