You’ll go bananas over this

There’s more to life than public speaking and blogging. One of my passions is long-distance cycling.  In fact, I just got back from a three-hour 75 km ride up in the mountains. 

Every cyclist knows is the importance of eating right – before, during and after a long ride.  A mainstay of any cyclist’s diet is the humble but mighty banana.  Each one packs oodles of nutritional value.  But bananas are not just for cyclists; they are an excellent food choice for anyone who has to give a speech or presentation.

How so? Consider the following:

1.  Bananas contain glucose, sucrose and fructose, three naturally occurring sugars that provide energy.

2.  Bananas are an excellent source of potassium.  The people at note that potassium helps normalize our heartbeat and regulate the water balance in our bodies.

3.  Potassium is important in another way. An article in the Harvard Business School student weekly, The Harbus, summarizes a 2007 lecture by Harvard Professor Dale Deletis on overcoming the fear of public speaking.  Professor Deletis recommended eating bananas because the potassium that they contain helps relax the muscles in our bodies.  Speaking in public can sometimes be stressful.  Our pulse quickens and we tense up because of the adrenaline rush.  Consuming sufficient amounts of potassium will help us relax and avoid stiff muscles.

Quite apart from the above, bananas provide a multitude of other health benefits. Check them out here.

So, as long as you are not allergic to them, make bananas part of your regular diet.  And when you have a speaking engagement, in addition to your other materials, make sure that you bring a banana or two along.  Many times, we find ourselves having to speak at the end of the morning or afternoon, long after breakfast or lunch has been digested.  Eating a banana 30 minutes to an hour before your speaking time will give you a nice healthy boost.

Oh, and if you have to give a really BIG speech Down Under, consider visiting The Big Banana just north of Coff’s Harbour on Australia’s east coast. I’ve been. It’s a lot of fun and a lifetime’s worth of potassium all rolled into one.

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
This entry was posted in Preparation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to You’ll go bananas over this

  1. Pingback: The mighty banana | Health Continuum

  2. Pingback: How to Calm Yourself Before a Spoken Word Performance

  3. Paul Moura says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse this banana approach! I eat them before all of my music performances, too!



  4. Pingback: A Public Speaking Alphabet | Manner of Speaking

  5. Bill says:

    Great tip and one of the important pieces of advice here is to eat the banana 30 minutes to an hour before you go on stage. If it’s any later you may still have sugars in your mouth that can make you salivate and cause “lip smacking” – rather unattractive, expecially if you’re using a microphone.


  6. Whebanineve says:

    Excuse me for commenting OT – which WordPress theme do you use? It looks interesting!!


  7. Pingback: Five tips for writing or speaking « Manner of Speaking

  8. ally says:

    John, I love this thread. I don’t know much about public speaking, but definitely as a cyclist, and for long afternoon conference calls and video conferences, bananas are your friend!


    • Mary says:

      I was thinking of doing a speech about bananas for Toastmasters. It was to be project no. 7, Research Your Topic in the CC manual. I do like bananas. I just never saw much of a connection between bananas and public speaking.


  9. This is a very interesting article and I will certainly ask my students to give this a try. Potassium reduces stress in public speaking. I love bananas too and will eat more from now on. Regards, Vince


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