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, which helps normalize our heartbeat and regulate the water balance in our bodies.

3.  Potassium also helps relax the muscles in our body. 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. He recommended eating bananas.

Quite apart from the above, bananas provide a multitude of other health benefits.

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.

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11 Replies to “You'll go bananas over this”

  1. 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

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

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Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

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HR Specialist, World Health Organization

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