As you know, in the U.S., we’re about to begin Daylight Savings Time this weekend.  For some this means losing an hour of sleep, which may not sound like much but indeed it is.  If you’re someone that has difficulty sleeping at night, then an hour is a big deal.  In fact, it’s huge.

You’ve probably read the research I have that lists the various health risks often associated with too little sleep or sleep deprivation.  But what about the value of getting sufficient sleep?  There are multiple benefits but in particular for those of us who speak for a living, did you know that good sleep…

  • Helps you think better
  • Stimulates your creative thinking
  • Improves your memory
  • Increases your accuracy
  • Lowers your risk of burn-out
  • Eases your ability to problem-solve
  • Enhances your judgment and decision-making

You’d probably agree that this is an impressive list and can imagine being a more effective public speaker as well, based on consistently getting enough sleep.  Easier said than done, I know.  Rather than list the ways to modify your sleep habits, which you either already know or have tried, I prefer to list some behaviors to reduce your speaking anxiety such as:

  1. Review your schedule prior to accepting a speaking opportunity and get comfortable saying “no” on those occasions where your workload clearly doesn’t permit sufficient preparation time.
  2. When you opt to accept a speaking invitation, find out as many details as possible in advance in order to avoid the element of surprise.
  3. Begin developing an outline or plan for your presentation once you’ve committed so you’re not trying to cram the presentation in last minute or “winging it.”
  4. Focus on what your listeners most need to hear and realize this may not require a slide deck.
  5. Allocate time on your calendar each week to work on your presentation so you don’t feel rushed and place unnecessary pressure on yourself.  Of course if you don’t do this, you won’t get any shuteye.

Please reach out to me if this topic is of interest to you and you’d like my guidance.  I promise it’ll help you sleep soundly!  Until then–sweet dreams.