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Sometimes I get inspiration for blog posts on better speaking from odd places and this one – which is about boosting your speaker presence – falls into that category.

I admit it. I love spending time in France. Between the people, the language, the wines, irresistible breads and pastries, the cheeses, the markets, the music, the museums, the history, the vibrancy and community feel you’ll find in every city, town and village,  AND amazing (non fast food) cuisine. What’s not to love, right?

I’m just back from a fantastic family holiday where we got to stay and hang out with wonderful friends in Rennes. And of all the things we did, one of my favourite was eating in true French Style. And boy, did we ever embrace the French notion of: “Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup” (AKA: “Eat well, laugh often, love – those you’re with – abundantly”)?

Leisurely breakfasts, lengthy lunches and even longer dinners with sumptuous food mingled with engaging, meandering and memorable conversations (with n’er a mobile phone seen at the table) were the order of the day, every day.

A Recipe for Heightened Speaker Presence Revealed

And leaving aside any worries I had about how spending the best part of 5 hours a day having meals might affect my waistline (and I’ll get to a surprising, bonus revelation on this is a moment), I was delighted to be reminded of a fundamental truth that matters when you want to influence any group:

If you choose to take the time to be truly present with others – listening, sharing stories, and enjoying conversations – the engagement, connection, meaning and motivation everyone takes from time spent together is greatly increased.

Of course, I realise that in this era where being pressed for time is a constant, it can seem easier and more expedient for leaders to engage in rapid-fire, abbreviated, hit and run ‘here’s what I’d like you to know, consider or act upon…Now, go, go, go’ broadcast communications.

Snag is, faster doesn’t mean better when it comes to sharing meaning or influencing others. Rather, audiences who feel speakers take the time to have a conversation with them ahead of just speaking at or to them get far more from these communications (because they feel more involved and immersed).

And the upshot?

Slow down and choose to be more present every time you speak. It’s a win-win proposition for you and your audiences (being more enjoyable, meaningful and memorable) AND – here’s some further good news – it won’t take you much more time to achieve far superior results.

A Bonus Impact-Boosting Realisation for Speakers

So, I mentioned I was a bit worried about just how much weight I managed to add after a week of fine dining in France. And I readily admit I closed my eyes for a moment when I stepped onto a weighing scale yesterday – since I was afraid of what I’d learn.

BUT. Shocker. I was amazed to see I hadn’t gained any weight at all! Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Say what now? You’ve got to be kidding me! I mean, how does that work – especially since I had totally enjoyed and embraced every morsel of every dish and meal? And, somehow, not an extra pound?

Then something dawned on me. We spent so much time eating and enjoying the company of others that we had ZERO time to snack.

Ha. We just focused on enjoying each dining experience and didn’t get distracted by stuff we didn’t need any other times in the day.

Proof positive of the old adage ‘few and well beats many any day of the week’! And that goes for your talks too.