Here in Southern England, we’re currently experiencing a heat wave. The high temperatures combined with high humidity create an enervating heat for even the sturdiest of constitutions. And of course this has an impact on our voices and communication styles.
Yesterday evening I attended an event; it was SO HOT. The room wasn’t well ventilated and there were more guests than originally planned so it was very crowded. The heat was unbearable and a number of people felt quite faint. Of course there was a lot of drink available, but we had to ask for non-alcoholic drinks. I have found out from past bitter experience that Pimms tastes lovely, goes down like a soft drink but has all the side effects of alcohol if consumed in large quantities! So combining this with a very sweaty room, meant I wanted to avoid making a fool of myself.
But this event – and it was a wonderful one, made me realise how we need to take care of our voices, charisma and presence in the heat. Here are my top tips:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It takes approximately 2 hours to absorb water into the body, so it is worthwhile drinking water all day, not just when you are thirsty.
- Alcohol is great BUT it is dehydrating to the voice/vocal folds. If you do drink some alcohol make sure you drink a lot of water/soft drinks to reduce the effects of the alcohol on your body.
- When you are hot, it can be easy to adopt a ‘floppy’ posture. This is particularly apparent when other people have a wilting posture: we tend to mirror other people’s body language. Be aware of this to ensure you maintain your presence even if you are HOT!
- Many buildings have air-conditioning systems which are great when you are in them, but play havoc on voices if you are regularly going from the heat outside to the cool. The change in temperature can result in head colds and sore throats. I would advise wearing a scarf round your neck / throat area when you move from a hot area to cool and allow your body to acclimatise to the change in temperature.
- Eat some salty snacks (crisps etc) which replenish some of the salts lost when you sweat. Water a lone won’t replenish these. Or, if you wish, drink Dioralyte which is a sachet of salts and sugars, which when mixed with water help your body replenish itself with essential salts and sugars.
Good luck with the heat!
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