How Hara Hachi Bu can make your business travel more effective and more enjoyable.

Do you travel a lot for business? Do you make this mistake when trying to be time efficient and cost effective?

Tb Singapore departures

I travel a lot for my work as a business writing and communication consultant. I used to make lots of business trip “mistakes” – until I started applying advice from Presentation Zen expert Garr Reynolds – especially his suggestions about hara hachi bu.

I’m in Singapore as I write this post and Singapore is famous for its delicious food. I love coming here for work!

International communication

Raffles bakery

In the past, at the hotel breakfast I would pile up my plate. I wanted to get my money’s worth! I would gulp down the huge breakfast thinking that this “forced fuelling up” would save me having to eat lunch and that I could work through lunch. I thought I was being efficient!

The trouble was – it was actually inefficient and highly ineffective. I’d often start the day feeling so bloated and heavy and hard to get moving. I was slow and sluggish – in body and in mind!

These days – inspired by Presentation Zen – I now deliberately eat less.

It was through Presentation Zen that I learned of the Japanese expression hara hachi bu – which means eat until you are 80% full – eat until you are satisfied but without stuffing yourself too full!

I know I keep referring to Presentation Zen – but it really has made a difference. As well as getting great tips about how to improve presentations – Presentation Zen also helps me improve my business travel – and I’m sure my health and well-being.

Garr applies hara hachi bu to show how you can make your presentations more effective by not cramming in too much information. I’ve also been applying the expression literally – in limiting how much I actually eat on trips (and when I am home).
so many tempting treats – hard to resist!

so many tempting treats - hard to resist!

so many tempting treats – hard to resist!

There’s a danger that Business travelers can often over-eat for many reasons.

because they can – there is often a seemingly endless supply of food at hotels
because they feel they want to get their money’s worth
because they think they are being efficient. (As I did – rationalizing that a huge breakfast would saving me having to eat lunch)
I now also eat slower and take time to enjoy the food. I feel lighter and more energised. My days seem to go better.


I try to have a small lunch to re-energise. It’s not just about eating more food at lunch – it’s about having a break from work. This sounds so simple and “obvious” – but it’s hard to resist the urge to just work on through lunch.

I also make sure I have arrive at breakfast earlier to take more time to enjoy breakfast. I eat slower – tasting and enjoying the food rather than just gulping it down. I usually eat lots of Asia food – but this morning I really felt like an omelette.

So I ordered a small(ish) omelette – relishing the crunch of the onion and the full flavor (and texture) of the cheese! It was so satisfying. I could have fitted in more – but I stopped before I got 100% full!


I watched other businessmen piling mountains of food on their plates and gulping down their food in a rush. I know it can be hard for men to resist piles of bacon and it does take discipline – but the results are worth it.

As a result of hara hachi bu – I feel lighter and brighter and enjoying my business trip and my work more too!

word nerd CU
At work training Better Business Writing – and performing better too thanks to hara hachi bu!

Here is a link to Presentation Zen and Garr’s post about Hara Hachi Bu:

Garr Reynolds - Presentation Zen

Garr Reynolds – Presentation Zen

(Also, I’d like to let you know that I didn’t copy my dark glasses and dark wardrobe from Garr! I had this look long before I’d even heard of Presentation Zen.)

Garr also likes taking photographs of food especially the beauty of the Bento Box. here is a link to another post about Bento Box Bliss. Do not read this post if you are hungry!


Bento Box Bliss



So who is writing this?

Getaway travel

Hi I’m Tony – a TV reporter and producer turned international communication trainer and consultant. I love writing – especially about the joys of travel – even business travel. I’m a bit like that George Clooney character in Up In The Air in that I actually enjoy the travelling life.


TB travel 2 shot

I love travel- even business travel – what about you? I no longer need the cane in this photo – the cane was just used when I was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon – and when trying to be like Mr Bates from Downton Abbey 😉

I’m also a big fan of retro – like vintage flight bags and luggage from when jet-setting was glamorous.


qantas flight bag


qantas suitcase

If you enjoyed this post and if you like travel or retro – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.




About doubleshot media

Hi, I'm a lawyer turned journalist/speechwriter/presentation coach - combining business experience with personal passions for music and writing to blog about persuasion, retro, music, and even business lessons from theatre and performing
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