Interview with Carl Honoré
What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?
Slowing down can help all of us lead richer, happier and more productive lives.
How are your keynotes unique?
My message is profoundly countercultural and counterintuitive: The best way to get ahead in a fast world is not to go faster; it’s to slow down. Instead of using PowerPoint, I entertain and persuade with a performing style that is fun, dynamic and inspiring. With my rich international experience, I am able to draw on evidence and stories from around the world and make my message relevant to audiences in any country.
Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
Every day people from all over the world email to say that reading my books or hearing me speak has helped them change their lives for the better. That is extraordinary inspiration.
Can you explain briefly why it is important to slow down?
When we get stuck in fast forward, everything suffers – our diet and health, our relationships, communities and the environment, even our work and the economy. The Slow movement offers an alternative to today’s roadrunner culture. Being Slow is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace; it’s about doing everything at the right speed.
Slowing down at the right moments can bring more depth, pleasure and meaning to our lives. It can make us more efficient and creative. It can help us conquer stress. It can make the economy more sustainable. The Slow movement is a cultural revolution in the making. By unleashing our inner tortoise, we can all work, play and live better.
How do you relate the concepts of pleasure and purpose in your keynote?
Pleasure and purpose are two sides of the same coin. One of the greatest pleasures is finding and following your personal mission in life. Slowing down is an essential part of making that happen. It is only by taking time to listen, observe and think that we are able to find our true purpose. Taking a slow approach can make life more pleasurable in every other way, too, because it helps us enjoy each moment thoroughly. As Mae West famously said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”
How do you prepare for your keynote presentations?
By spending a lot of time learning about the event and the audience beforehand. Though the Slow philosophy is universal, the message can be delivered in many different ways. I make sure the content, tone and style of my keynotes are tailored to fit the needs of each audience.