The Speaker’s Best Gift: Presence

After returning home from one of the best CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) meetings I have ever attended, I am evaluating my behavior.

More specifically, my PRESENCE at the event.

Not, “was the event worthwhile?” It was indeed.

Not, “was I seen as an expert?” That was on track.

But, was I actually “present”?

Being consciously present while interacting with your fans or customers, especially in a crowded room, takes some practice.

I’m going to give myself 6 out of 10.


There was one emerging speaker who approached me at the very end of the last evening’s gala. I was leaving the event, (exhausted after 3 days and 3 presentations) nearly at the elevator when she breathlessly approached, “Jane, do you have a minute?”

She was a fan of The Wealthy Speaker and has been following my work. She came to Montreal BECAUSE I was speaking! I tried to be present, but I’m afraid I failed. (If you are reading this, please accept my apology).

I could have engaged more consciously. I could have inquired about her first convention experience or any number of things. Instead, I am certain that I was distracted.

How often do we let our “fans” down?

How often do we mentally check out before we’ve actually left the venue?

Next year, I will do better and I hope you will keep this in mind at your next speaking or networking event.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

PS: Today’s teleclass with Sam Horn should not be missed by anyone to wants to get their book out of their head and onto the paper. Join us! Wealthy Speaker purchasers and clients get in at no charge!

  • Great blog. Thought about this all the time when I was answering request lines in radio or leaving a concert after ‘hanging with the band.’ Yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember to engage. Remember that when you do, your fans are thrilled!

  • Ah, the gift of self awareness! What a great post, Jane! I believe success isn’t merely built on what we do, it is also created by WHO WE ARE. 🙂

  • Your candid observations and wisdom are always appreciated. I’ll be more aware of my presence in the new year. Thank you!

  • I appreciate your observations about being present with other people. I also think you may be being a bit hard on yourself because you were exhausted after a three day event. Your thoughts are reminding me to admit to myself and even outloud to others that I am tired and not as available as I want to be, even if it’s mid conversation. Thank you for your great blogs, I find they continue to inspire me as a speaker.

  • Hmmm, yes!
    Been there, done that, regretted not finding that last little piece of energy at the end of a 6 hour day of speaking. I actually had a participant approach me once a half hour after the end of the session and ask if I was depressed (presumably based on the look on my face) but in fact I was going into decompression mode. Those fans who wait to speak with us really are most important, they are the nuance between gladvertising and badvertising, the difference between “it was a great session” and “the guy was a jerk”.

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  • I really appreciate how difficult this is, Jane. It’s very hard to be focussed and “on” all the time, especially for extended periods of time like is required at a conference. I think it’s one of those things that can take a lifetime to perfect, and I know I’m not there yet. It’s particularly difficult for introverts like me who have to expend energy to socialize with people. :^)

    One of the most discouraging things about meeting people you admire is when they don’t seem interested in you. But I don’t think that’s the case here. You were understandably tired and that happens to everyone. Just the fact that you’re thinking about this and are working on it tells me that you’ll get there. I appreciate you sharing these feelings.

  • I have been THAT emerging speaker that just wants a moment of someone’s time. So when someone wants a moment of my time, I remind myself that I can not know what cosmic energy will be released by that encounter. Perhaps the encounter will be life-changing for that person. Or perhaps it will be life-changing for me. And we often don’t know this until much later. Keeping this in mind helps me to be present to others even when I am exhausted. I thank you for our candour, Jane. This is something that we have all struggled with!

  • Thanks Jane. There’s lots of talk about authenticity. One true display of authenticity is being honest about where we have been inauthentic. I appreciate your courage to air imperfections publicly. Many times I’ve been “the guy,” but coming new to CAPS last year, I would give you higher marks than your 6 for taking the time to connect with me and other newbies. It’s great to bring this issue forward.

  • Great perspective and advice. It is amazing what we can learn, when we are honest with our results in business and life. Thanks Jane for being a transparent leader.

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