Be Here Now

Speakers and presenters face similar challenges. Recently, we flew from Los Angeles to Chicago for a family birthday and an important business meeting. There was a last-minute schedule change, so our flight and car rental had to be adjusted. The time zone was two hours ahead. We were driving in a city where traffic patterns were unfamiliar, parking downtown was a mess, and it started to rain. Without safety nets (and raingear) our stress level would have been exacerbated and our performance would have suffered.

When you fly, use lubricating eye drops, suck on lozenges, and hydrate during the flight and when you check in at your hotel. Your voice will thank you.

The night before your meeting or speech, retire early. If you don't sleep well, you lose 30 to 40% of your cognitive ability. Whether it's magnesium-zinc-potassium, sublingual melatonin, or another sleep aid, pack it and use it.

The morning of your event, hit the gym or take a walk outside. Working out recalibrates your system, so that you adapt faster. Accept that you are in a new time zone. Never say "Back in L.A. it's two hours earlier."

Leave extra travel time and arrive a good 30 - 45 minutes early. If you can't scope out the location, find a nearby Corner Bakery or Starbucks to read the paper, go over your notes, or answer email. Just like the pros, pack flexibility and nimbleness into your travel bag to ensure success.


  1. Eric Barnes says:

    And even if the set DOES fall down…or the podium tips over…or the microphone stops working, DO NOT STOP WHAT YOU’RE THERE FOR. It is NOT the end of the world.. Make a quick joke, a funny comment…and get on with your own show. Your audience will love you the more for it.

  2. Deborah says:

    You are so correct. Thanks for sharing the secrets of the pros!

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