In June I was presenting at the ThingsExpo conference at Javits Center in New York City. During my talk I was demonstrating how to integrate consumer devices into a business workflow (we develop software for insurance agents). In particular, I was doing live measuring of my own blood pressure to show how to integrate consumer devices into a business workflow. Internet of Things, you know. The results were automatically appearing in my customized Web application.
When the results appeared on my mobile device I was quite surprised to see that my pressure was 200/120. This was damn high. My regular blood pressure is typically around 140/90. If you think that presenting in front of a large group of people makes me stressed out, this is not the case. I’m pretty experienced speaker and, actually enjoy presenting. I thought that was a device failure.
I’m writing this blog from the beautiful Crete Island, Greece. As you see, on August 28 at 5:45AM my blood pressure is normal. I’m participating in a small conference called JCrete – this is where experienced Java developers unwind.
Guess what, I was delivering a scaled down version of the same presentation in a small room in front of a dozen people. The atmosphere in the room is friendly and relaxed. May be that’s the reason why the results of my blood pressure measurement where not as high as in New York: 180/110. It’s still pretty damn high. Again, I was not nervous at all. Yes, I was a little excited.
This make me wondering if talking from the podium increases blood pressure? In October I’ll be measuring my pressure on stage at the conference in Moscone Center in San Francisco. I’ll update this blog with fresh numbers then.
Is presenting at a conference dangerous for your health? Should people with high blood pressure avoid public speaking?
If you know of some scientific studies of this subject please leave a comment on this blog. If you are a speaker yourself, do a little experiment – take a blood pressure monitor with you next time you’re presenting. Do the measurements immediately after your talk is over. Don’t be ashamed. Let’s contribute to medical science.
8 thoughts on “Blood Pressure While Presenting at Conferences”
Yakov, how old are you?
Did you measure the level of the oxygen vs carbon dioxide in each case? If there are a lot of people in the audience then there are probably less oxygen and your heart should work more intensively to provide the blood with the necessary volume of the oxygen. Also, speaking may interrupt natural way of breathing so again your body requires more blood-loops per minute and hence higher blood preasure.
1. If you are are a meat eater – stop eating meat. Fish is OK.
2. Stop drinking hard liquor and beer, even occasionally. Organic red wine is OK (in moderation)
3. Start eating leafy vegetables, salads. Green juices
4. Start regular moderate exercise regiment.
5. Re-evaluate your life style. Maybe you are in a wrong line of work?
A famous comic M.Zhvanetsky said, “If you want to live 5 years longer, start regularly working out in the gym. But you’ll have to spend these 5 years in the gym” 🙂
That’s a nice one, Yakov 🙂 I totally agree. However, I do all the things I’ve mentioned in original post not to live longer but to feel good as we never know how long we are going to live anyway.
People with blood pressure readings of 180/120 or higher need treatment immediately (source: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/understanding-high-blood-pressure-basics).
I consider that public speaking isn’t a real cause because you are experienced speaker. I have 10 years experience in the lecturer job at University. Annually I prepare some students for public appearances. They lose excitement completely after 3 to 5 speeches. First time is always terrible whatever I do.
Scan the web with phrase “high blood pressure” and book an appointment with a doctor for consulting. It’s a serious bell.
Had a regular checkup with my family doctor a month ago: 130/80.
You didn’t get my message. measuring blood pressure of a weight lifter during his workout may show unexpected results. Have you ever tried to measure blood pressure of your non-excited students while they are on the podium?
Sport stress is a completely another subject. In your case it make sense to discuss emotional reasons rather than physical.
Of course I never measured blood pressure during or after speech because I’m not a medical researcher:)
Concerning a doctor appointment: I implied that these dramatic changes of blood pressure may be a symptoms of hypertension or heart disorder that need meticulous medical examination, not only simplest pressure measurement. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. Accidental detection on conference is a good chance for you to spot health problems in time if any. Be healthy for many, many years!