Throw Away That Popsicle!

Popsicle BreakA glass of ice water, a slice of chilled watermelon, a grape juice popsicle.  Sounds great in hot weather, doesn’t it?

If you’re a public speaker or a singer like I am, beware.  These ice cold  refreshers triggered some of the nastiest asthma  and allergy attacks I’ve had,  leading to extensive mucous in my throat, constant attempts at  throat clearing, and finally triggering irritative laryngitis or reflux laryngitis (when gastric acid backs up into the larynx, pharynx, and esophagus).

I admit it: I may be hyper-sensitive.  Anything mucous-producing, from alcohol to milk products, chocolate, and even red meat, can set off an allergic attack.

Years ago, when I was doing some professional singing, I went to a noted otolaryngologist who was THE go-to doctor for opera and theater legends, from pop singers to opera divas. His first piece of advice: avoid red wine, milk products and chocolate. My own voicePopsicle, Lime, Cold.  Yum. teachers were also telling me to avoid very hot or very cold drinks, instead sticking to room temperature or warm beverages.

Only years later, after researching and consulting doctors, did I learn that cold can trigger an allergic reaction leading to reflux, and, just as cold weather can trigger an asthma attack, so can drinking or eating something cold.  In short, it’s a shock to your vocal chords.

Now that I know the culprit, I’m careful about assaulting my throat with very cold foods or beverages.  And when symptoms flare, I head for my asthma inhaler and an antihistimine-decongestant.  No more popsicles for me!

Photos courtesy of Kristin Resurreccion and Sergio Feria via Flickr.

What does Opera have to do with Public Speaking?


Martina Arroyo
Martina Arroyo

I recently attended a master class  for young opera singers with famed singer Martina Arroyo, at Hunter College in New York City.  Ms. Arroyo constantly stressed the importance of knowing who the character is, the motive behind actions, where the action takes place, and more.  She also focused on  the importance of being  prepared and immersed in the moment before you  get up on stage.

What does this have to do with public speaking?  Just like a good performer, a public speaker needs to have stage presence.   Know the context of your presentation.  Think about your words, what you want to convey,  and how you want to move your audience.  Have a sense of yourself, who  you are and why you’re up on that stage, whether it’s an interview, a panel or PowerPoint presentation, or a speech to a large or small audience.

Our “Techniques for Effective Public Speaking”  can help you translate the qualities of a great performer into a great presentation of your own.  For more information contact us or visit www.publicspeaking4u.com.