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Chapter 31. Dress and Grooming > Night Moves - Pg. 260

Dress and Grooming 260 Night Moves Remember how you prepared to take those terrifying standardized tests back in school? The same suggestions for how to treat yourself before the speech will serve you in good stead when you speak in public. Let's review the suggestions: 1. Get plenty of sleep.According to recent studies, most of us are sleep-deprived--and seriously so. But I don't have to tell you that; you know it already. Nonetheless, for several nights before any important speaking event, get plenty of sleep. The night before isn't good enough--strive for at least two to three days of adequate sleep. You'll be amazed at how good you feel and how much better you perform when you're rested. Besides, fatigue can lower your self-confidence, your ability to concentrate, and your attention span. These are things that you need to be a good public speaker. Eat right.Not only don't we sleep enough, but we also don't eat right. Be sure to eat nourishing meals--especially breakfast--on the day of the speech. Make a conscious effort to fill your stomach with whatever works best for it--and, no, that doesn't include a Greasy Glenn Burger Blast with a side of monster fries. Avoid caffeine.Yes, I know you need your coffee. We all need a jump start from Mr. Coffee in the morning, but too much caffeine can make you nervous. And the last thing you want before a speech is a bad case of chemically induced nerves. Don't forget that colas and teas also contain a great deal of caffeine. If you're a very heavy coffee drinker, however, don't go off the stuff cold turkey because you'll have a nasty case of caffeine withdrawal. Just don't pump yourself up with "a few" extra mugs of java. 2. 3. Speech of the Devil Never eat anything unfamiliar the day before or the day of a speech. This is not the time to try Aunt Edna's killer fruit cake (the one that predates the pyramids). And don't even think of trying to beat Uncle Jimmy's record at the burger joint. Give your body a break. 4. 5. 6. Avoid alcohol.It's amazing how so many otherwise highly intelligent human beings think that a few drinks before a speech will make them more relaxed, witty, and funny. A few drinks actually might make you sound and act stupid. Commit this to memory: Alcohol never works for public speakers. Pack business cards.Speaking in public is a great chance to network with interesting and important professionals. Odds are, after your speech, you'll get offers to address other events. You want to be prepared. Today, for example, I did a half-hour interview with the gracious Donna Hanover on WOR radio in New York City. After the interview, the next guest asked if I would address her group. She had heard my talk while she was waiting her turn to be inter- viewed. A physician, she runs a large organization that addresses women's lifestyle issues. She asked, "When are you available to speak to my organization? Do you have a card?" I whipped out my card, and we're in business. After you give a speech, be ready with your business cards. Few things look as unprofessional as scrawling your name and phone number on a cocktail napkin. Pack an emergency bag.Pack a small bag with items that you're likely to need. Here are some items to consider: · An extra copy of your speech or notes.