This article was published in the Toastmaster magazine.
You owe it to yourself, and to your audience, to look your best. I am NOT about "Dress for Success." That's old hat, and you want to hear something new. Mark Twain said: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society." However, I want to talk about something your clothing CANNOT conceal. I'm talking about your health. Your health as it shows--and it WILL show, whatever you're wearing. The bottom line: I want to talk to you about how you look as a speaker.
I have a unique perspective on the whole experience. I never in my life thought I would come to love public speaking. I spent 4 decades looking for the fifth corner to hide my infirmity. I was born in the former Soviet Union with structural hip problems that could not be corrected. For 42 years, I lived with one leg shorter than the other. Consequently, I always dreamed of becoming beautiful and graceful. After immigrating to the United States, I prepared for the surgery that would ultimately replace my hips and allow me to walk without a limp.
I knew I was deficient and, in my search for wholeness, I was looking for the scattered parts of myself in different endeavors. I resolved to prove myself intellectually. Over the years I worked on degrees in mechanical engineering and theoretical mathematics. The more difficult the area of study, the more pursuing it would proclaim my value.
But when my leg infirmity was corrected I became a different person. Suddenly I wanted to be in front of people. I joined the Toastmasters in 2000. Friday did not come often enough, so I joined 2 more clubs. The nurturing environment allowed me open my cocoon and fly. Since then I have given many professional speeches and won numerous awards. My confidence went off the charts because my experience with Toastmasters and I began to look for new challenges.
Recovering from hip operations I began a lifestyle change that would help me not only against the common "after forty" downslide but also to offset the grave consequences on my body brought on by general anesthetics and pain. I became more and more convinced that the solution to my lifelong quest for health and beauty was to be found in raw food diet.
The raw food lifestyle not only helped me to sail courageously through troublesome times, brought my general health and appearance to an all time best, but also opened a new chapter in my life. It lead me to become an author, making public appearances to promote my books and using everything I learned from Toastmasters to further my new career. My transformation made me a firm believer that the roots of under-performing and under-achieving lie in feeling and looking less than your best. As a result, I became an advocate of the raw food lifestyle to help people to improve their health and appearance.
Most of us know that what we eat affects how we feel. But the food we eat has EVERYTHING to do with the way we look! At any moment in time, you are either degenerating or rejuvenating. You are either going one way or the other depending on the lifestyle choices you make. Just as Toastmasters nurtured for my talents, my diet nurtured my appearance.
Many people do not have so obvious defects as short leg, or scared face, but eye bags, puffy faces, protruding stomachs can be just as constricting to our best speaking performance. It is important to your confidence as a speaker to appear at your very best.
Every individual in your audience is just as concerned with their appearance. Every 7 seconds another baby boomer turns 50. What does an aging workforce mean? It means that the average age of your seminar attendee if getting older. Health is becoming their most precious asset and it is degrading rapidly.
It means that if you are discussing reaching your dreams, achieving a successful career, but are not exhibiting glowing health, you are not convincing. It also means that the underlying interest of your audience, no matter what you are speaking about, is the universal search for how to deal with aging. The relation of age to appearance is more important than ever before. Look and feeling younger than your age has increasingly become a yardstick of success. And the raw foods can help.
We always want to know the age of the person we meet. Estimating age and deciding whether or not the person has worn well indicates a great deal about a person. Today, a good appearance is as important as a good resume. It used to be that credentials were all that mattered. Now it is the custom, whether in an article or a book, to picture the author and reveal his age. We want to know how the author looks and his age before we read his book. We want to compare these two pieces of information and decide whether the author is knowledgeable about something we want to know. With about half of the population being over 35, this is not an unexpected trend. Preoccupation with age is a reality for our rapidly aging society.
Some physical characteristics of our face and body we cannot change--they were determined prior to our birth. But the consumption of the raw plant diet as an adult will make a difference in the texture of skin and hair, the health of nails, weight and complexion. All of these traits and more are determined by daily choices, with food being one of the most important and, luckily, the one we have full control of.
The raw food diet has been embraced by many models (Carol Alt), actresses (Demi Moore) and others who rely on maintaining their looks to maintain their careers. People who have been on the raw food lifestyle for several years begin to have a glow, the kind not often seen in middle-aged people. Optimal health is recognized by an emerging radiance. Glow is hard to fake because it is internal. It comes from an abundance of clear, pink, almost transparent cells that light up the face. Only superior blood circulation can bring this transfiguring glow.
You change your speaking material, your wardrobe, your presentation, why not change the way you prepare yourself physically? So how do you look your best without distracting everyone by tons of make-up or plastic self? I don’t expect the majority of people to change their lifestyle as completely as I did, but I sincerely believe that everyone can do some of the things I do and discover that their appearance and vitality are greatly improved.
I believe beauty is based on the premise that good health practices reward you with the internal beauty of the body, and promotes outward attractiveness. Here are a few simple steps that can be incorporated into your daily regimen that will improve your appearance by encouraging health from within:
· Make it a practice to have a fresh squeezed vegetable juice every day. It will greatly rejuvenate and invigorate your body. It will give you more slimming look. Include beet root and tops which are an excellent for eliminating eye bags.
· Avoid eating in the evening, especially the night before a presentation. You will be more energetic and elegant. The stomach is made of muscles, and late eating makes it work hard at night. Also, having a period of time when the stomach is empty helps to shrink the protruding stomach.
· To a have a refreshing night’s sleep raise the footboard on your bed about 1 or 1.5 inches higher than your head side. You need to keep your feet and legs elevated higher than your head to increase circulation and blood flow to your head. This position helps rejuvenate your body functions and helps to keep you looking young.
· To refresh and bring a glow to your face 15-20 minutes before your presentations try to carry out a Meridian Facial massage by using acupressure and massage on specific meridian points over the face to relieve. (Detailed instructions are in my first book about the raw food diet Your Right to Be Beautiful)
Public speakers are no less reliant on their immediate personal impact to retain their viability. Health messages have been included in the presentations of famous speakers such as Napoleon Hills and Tony Robins. Try my suggestions and see how just a modicum of my lifestyle will improve your appearance and your listeners perception of you.