Public speaking anxiety does not only present psychological challenges to a person's confidence, but it may also manifest in physical obstacles such as trembling hands and a dry mouth. Often, a dry mouth is not caused by thirst, but is a result of a speaker's anxiety and nervousness. This can make it hard to give an effective speech, but there are subtle methods you can use to keep your mouth moist and help to steady your nerves during a presentation.
Bring a bottle or glass of water with you to the lectern. Take small sips to keep your mouth moist and create a natural pause in your speech, which can help steady your nerves and give you more confidence.
Use a lip balm to moisturize your lips. Choose a balm that contains glcyerin, a skin softener that attracts moisture to your skin.
Eat a piece of hard candy just before you begin your speech to produce saliva in your mouth. Sour candy flavors such as lemon and lime activate the salivary glands especially well.
Run your tongue along the roof of your mouth and subtly bite your cheeks to trigger your salivary glands.
Practice tension-reducing breathing exercises before your speech. Take several deep breaths and slowly exhale, visualizing the expelling of negative thoughts and energy. Focus on breathing through your nose instead of your mouth to reduce dryness. Breathing exercises can help reduce your anxiety, the primary cause of a dry mouth.
Practice your speech until you are confident you know it well. Good preparation reduces anxiety, which helps keep your mouth from becoming dry.
Drink water the morning of your speech and when you are waiting to give your presentation. Water helps to keep your entire body hydrated and may help reduce the onset of dry mouth.
Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before your speech, because they can contribute to dehydration and worsen your dry mouth symptoms.