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.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International