Surely not with just two or three people!

Yes, even a tiny meeting. The difference in projection is small, but the difference in impact is huge.

 In a moment I'm going to suggest a practical tip for how to achieve it with subtlety and style. But first let me explain why it's necessary.

Developing your presence and authority

Next time a television reporter talks to you out of the screen, notice how she calls out as if you're at a distance, even though you're right there in front of her image. And yet it feels right. The reporter knows that if she puts in extra energy, people listen. It's part of her presence and authority.

Of course, a small live meeting isn't television. Act like a TV reporter and they'll take you away and give you pills. We need something more subtle.

Most of us speak with what I call minimal presence - only just enough projection or energy to be heard. That automatically lowers your authority because it delivers this self-damaging message: I believe I have a minimal presence.

Instead, do this: whatever the size of the meeting, project (call out) as if there is one extra, invisible person sitting beyond the furthest person from you. Assume that that invisible person has to hear you clearly as you speak to everyone in the room.

You think it will sound like shouting?

Try it with a group of colleagues and ask for their reaction. You might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction.

Projecting works for all sorts of meetings

It works for even the largest meetings. And it works even when you have a microphone. The audience has to hear (and see) you make an effort to reach them as if you were 'calling out' to them at a slight distance. A microphone can't achieve that for you, because volume alone does not give you that 'calling out' effect.

And it works even for a one-on-one meeting. Imagine this: you sit down with the person you're meeting, and you pass the first minute or two discussing the weather, children and your favourite sport. Then you say with slightly firmer, slightly elevated voice, 'Right, let's get down to business.'

Try it. Watch the person in front of you sit up a little straighter and pay attention.