Nobody Listening to Your Presentation? Maybe This is Why…

Posted on | June 25, 2013 | 10 Comments

OK, be honest. When there’s a break in your all day meeting and someone brings out a tray of brownies, do you eat them? I’ll admit I do!
Scott, on the other hand, doesn’t touch them. Who’s Scott? One of the sharpest, most articulate, and healthy looking executives I’ve seen in a long time.

A few months ago Scott led our executive team through a high energy, multi-day workshop. Long days. His energy seemed infinite even as the rest of us fought to stay awake. While we were gorging on brownies and the other junk one normally finds at company events, Scot was eating salt free nuts. Instead of a heavy lunch he opted for a protein shake.

I learned later that Scott is on the road 200 days a year. For him jet lag, erratic meals, and stressful business travel are a way of life. How can he perform better under those conditions than most of us can with a regular job? One secret is the way he chooses to fuel his body.

Think about the last off-site company meeting you attended, a meeting I’m sure was incredibly expensive. We pour massive time and money into these events and then we leave the food selection in the hands of a low level catering manager? Crazy.

An event planner recently told me how one company paid $10,000 for a keynote speaker and then scratched fresh fruit from the breakfast menu in favor of cheap pastries to save $300. Let’s see… $10,000 speaker sharing life changing advice with an alert audience fueled with power food or a comatose audience riding a post-pastry sugar crash… Which do you think delivers better business results?

It strikes me as ironic that we obsess over the latest productivity tools: smartphones, faster computers, etc. only to skimp on the areas that truly drive productivity: healthy body, sharp mind, focused effort.

Before your next important meeting, a few thoughts on how to maximize your performance in the same way Scott masters his:

Gut bombs kill your brain.
Fact: Loading your stomach with heavy food diverts blood from your brain to your stomach. Less blood to the brain = a more tired, slower thinking you. If you’re gonna pig out, do so on a day you can afford to be a slouch.

Embrace slight hunger pangs.
Didn’t get enough to eat at that business lunch? Good! Feeling a little hungry fine tunes one’s senses.

Event planners and executives: Stop obsessing over every detail of your off-site meeting agenda and start paying a lot more attention to the food the hotel has planned for your attendees.
I don’t care how dazzling your presentation is; it cannot compete with the afterglow of chicken nuggets and Twinkies.

So, kind reader, what’s your advice on super foods that keep you on task?
What about tips on how to persuade our employers to invest in proper nutrition?
Secrets to staying alert during all day meetings or lengthy business trips?

Thank you for sharing your comments!



10 Responses to “Nobody Listening to Your Presentation? Maybe This is Why…”

  1. Antonio
    June 26th, 2013 @ 6:07 am

    Ben, Another great post!

    I travel my fair share for business and I have developed some “road rules” which include:

    a) load up on protein at breakfast time. For me that includes eggs and PLENTY of smoked salmon;

    b) two drink maximum! Although my objective is to not consume any alcohol while traveling, I do find myself in situations (business lunches/dinners, cocktail reception, etc..) where its “required”. I limit myself to no more then two drinks per day. Anything more saps my energy reserves for the next day.

  2. Dennis Sheehan
    June 26th, 2013 @ 8:24 am


    I bring Scotch along; it makes all presentations seem good. :-)


    June 26th, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

    Timely advice. We hosted a TI North American Coaches Summit over the weekend. Fantastic presentations and I found myself struggling with drowsiness midway through the first prez on Sunday. I’d eaten a good brekkie and gotten some exercise earlier, but some nuts and seeds at that moment would have helped. I’ve forwarded this to our conference manager.

  4. Jim Aden
    June 26th, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

    Yes, I can remember those days during the early years of my government career when food, junk or otherwise, was a main reason to go to seminars or presentations. It took Type II diabetes to straighten me out. From the day I was diagnosed, fresh fruit became my main item at every event I went to (OK, coffee too). And you’re right, I did feel better, more alert and such events became more enjoyable. And years later, when I beat Type II Diabetes, I stuck with it and am a much healthier person today, and I’m now PRE-DIABETIC! ;o)

  5. Ben Lawrence
    June 27th, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    Antonio, That two drink minimum is excellent advice. This blog post didn’t even get into the whole drinking thing but I’m with you, more than a drink or two and not only do I underperform that day but the next day is shot, too. Smoked salmon, huh? I’ll give it a try!

  6. Ben Lawrence
    June 27th, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    LOL! Dennis, Knowing you, you’re mixing it with Cytomax or Gatorade in preparation for your next “I’m never running another marathon” marathon.

  7. Ben Lawrence
    June 27th, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    Terry, Hardly a day passes that I don’t reflect upon your coaching. It continues to make all the difference for me, both in and out of the water. Swim healthy, eat healthy :)

  8. Ben Lawrence
    June 27th, 2013 @ 9:09 am

    Jim, Your life of extremes continues to astound me. From junk food diabetic to healthy eater. From beat up runner to swift, barefoot marathoner. Thank you for continuing to share your experiences as they relate to the blog postings. You are truly an inspiration!

  9. Joel
    June 27th, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    Like the post Ben. Wish I’d read it before that chocolate chip brownie I scarfed with lunch. Had a great work out this morning, though. Glad I got this educational piece in before my nap. Laying my head on my desk nowwww wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwkkkkklk…..sssszzzzzzzz

  10. Ben Lawrence
    June 27th, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    All in moderation, right? Your workout this morning means you had at least a few hours of energy and focus before colliding with the chocolate chip brownie. Next time you stumble upon choc. chip anything, lemme know :)

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