Announcing a great event in London – and it’s not the Olympics!

July 27, 2012

In 2010 and 2011, Ideas on Stage was proud to organize the Presentation Zen European Seminar in Paris. This was Garr Reynolds‘ only public seminar in Europe each year, and it brought people from ten European countries and as far afield as Seattle to learn directly from the world’s leading presentation expert.

In 2012, we’re taking the show on the road, and where better than London, the year’s most happening city? On November 7th, Garr will give his Presentation Zen European Seminar 2012, and since this sold out in 2010 and 2011, this year we’ve hired a bigger room with more space – but tickets are already selling quickly so get yours fast…

We’re also delighted to offer something new this year, especially for those who already attended Garr’s seminar in 2010 or 2011 (or the 2012 edition): the following day, on November 8th, will see the world premiere of Garr’s brand-new Presentation Zen Storytelling Masterclass. Effective slide design and powerful delivery are not enough: every great presentation is based on a mastery of the art of storytelling.

You can buy tickets for one or other seminar, or – until August 31st – you can get a combination ticket which gives you a huge 50% discount off the day 2 Storytelling Masterclass.

Don’t hesitate – reserve your place now, and if you get in quickly we’ve also negotiated some discount hotel rooms for you at the Hilton London Paddington, where both events will take place.

Direct link for more details:

I look forward to seeing you there!

Garr Reynolds: Great keynote at the Ideas on Stage Conference 2011

December 8, 2011

We were delighted to welcome so many amazing people – participants and speakers – to the Ideas on Stage Conference 2011 a few weeks ago in Paris.

Our aim with this conference was to inspire people to transform their businesses with the power of innovation, communication and entrepreneurship. So it was partly about great presentations on those themes, but it was also about networking, bringing people together and inspiring people to have their own great ideas. Judging by the feedback, and by the many connections people made, it was a real success.

We were particularly delighted to welcome the brilliant Garr Reynolds back to Paris, and honoured to have him as the keynote Communication speaker. So it’s only right that the first talk I share from this conference is Garr’s fantastic keynote about on-ko-chi-shin or learning presentation lessons from the past.

I’ll be sharing more talks from the Ideas on Stage Conference in the coming weeks. Big thanks to the guys at for cutting this together and getting this online on their great site, so we can see the slides as well as the speaker; and thanks also to Buzdig for the filming.


Direct web link:

Pitch 2.0 – The New Art Of The Pitch (Video)

August 1, 2011

To mark the end of the first season of Le Camping, the Paris-based start-up accelerator of which I’m proud to be a mentor, the Silicon Sentier team organized a fantastic event at the end of June 2011, the Le Camping Festival, for which no less than 900 people signed up. I was asked to give a short keynote presentation on something relevant to start-ups, so being the resident pitch coach, I chose to talk about the art of the pitch.

They wanted me to entertain and put on a show, and that’s what I enjoy most, so I decided to create a simple structure, with three easy-to-remember messages, and to borrow the style of Steve Jobs (for the observant, it’s heavily inspired by Jobs’ brilliant iPhone introduction in 2007 – see if you can spot all the references). The young and entrepreneurial audience knew exactly where it came from.

So here is the video (8 minutes) – I hope you find it entertaining and enjoyable, and if you can remember the three key messages afterwards, then it will have served its purpose. Any investor pitch – and in fact any sales pitch – will be far stronger with these three key ingredients which all too often are missing.

Presentation 2.0: Resonate Naked

June 29, 2011

As I prepare to launch a new Ideas on Stage training course entitled Presentation 2.0, I feel compelled to write about two recent books which have captured the spirit of what we mean with Presentation 2.0, and which I would advise any presenter to read more than once.

Presentation 2.0 – the new art of presenting – is about engaging with your audience, telling authentic stories, and sharing passion and motivation with more concern for your audience than for yourself. In a Presentation 2.0, you are presenting not because you are important, but because your audience is important, so your focus is on them.

In a Presentation 2.0, you might choose to use visual aids to get your message across more memorably, but you will keep your slides simple and clear, and you will ensure that they are there only to help your audience to understand and remember your messages, not to help you to remember what you need to say.

In a Presentation 2.0, you will care more about what your audience will do with your message afterwards than what they think about you as a presenter.

For all these reasons, Presentation 2.0 is a far more effective and enjoyable way to communicate than the 1.0 style of reading bullet-ridden slideuments to bored audiences, or even the more advanced 1.1 style, promoted by slide-oriented sites like SlideShare, where you use pretty slides but still divert too much of the audience’s attention onto the slides and away from the two-way communication you should be having between presenter and audience. Death By Pretty Powerpoint is just sharpening the axe – it still falls and it still kills.

Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds ponder each other's first book

Now, before I talk about these two books, let me first provide a disclaimer. I didn’t pay for either of these – I received copies directly from the authors. The presentation business is still a fairly small world, people quote each other and write forewords for each other’s books, and that’s remarkably refreshing since we’re all working together with a common aim. While I’ve not yet met Nancy Duarte (an omission I’ll soon be correcting), I’ve shared a stage with Garr Reynolds and organize seminars with him, and – further disclaimer – he even did me the honour of including one of my articles in The Naked Presenter.

So I’m not exactly impartial here. But I’m not being paid to write a review, and if either author was hoping for one, I’ve likely disappointed them by delaying it for eight months.

Nancy Duarte wrote resonate as a prequel to her best-seller slide:ology. This fact alone is telling.

After many years as a leading presentation specialist, Nancy realised that before you can spend time making attractive and effective slides, you first have to structure your presentation properly, with clear objectives, simple messages, and a powerful scenario which draws on millennia of storytelling experience from Aristotle to Hollywood. And before you can do that, you have to focus on your audience.

Only when you know your audience and you have a story to match can you expect your ideas to resonate with them – and if your ideas resonate, then the audience will take them away and make them resonate far and wide.

resonate is therefore the book to read before slide:ology, and indeed, if it is the only presentation book you ever read, it will be a good choice because it tells you so much about storytelling, with many examples from Martin Luther King Jr to Star Wars, and if you can get your storytelling right and tailor it to your audience’s needs, you have the makings of a fine presentation.

The Naked Presenter follows on from Garr Reynolds’ previous two best-sellers, Presentation Zen and Presentation Zen Design. Where the first was about realising the received wisdom about presenting was all wrong, and offering a fresh, simple approach, and the second was about designing simple and attractive slides, The Naked Presenter focuses on how to deliver your presentation authentically and memorably.

Naked, in this sense, is figurative: it is about being yourself, being authentic, and making a connection with your audience. It is about presenting for them, not for you. It is about communicating, not putting on a show.

The “Naked Book”, as Garr calls it, is in fact a fantastic one-stop-shop for presentation skills, because it also covers how to structure your presentation, and how to approach your slides. So again, if this is the only presentation book you ever read, it’s a good choice.

Both books are beautifully designed and easy to read, in bite-size chunks. Personally, I would recommend reading The Naked Presenter first, then reading it again, and then getting into resonate. This is because Garr’s book will give you a strong foundation in all aspects of the Presentation 2.0 approach (storytelling, effective visuals and delivery), and Nancy’s book will then give you expert knowledge about how to choose your objectives and craft an effective story.

You can then of course go into detail on slide design with slide:ology or Presentation Zen Design, both of which I refer back to regularly. But don’t put the cart before the horse: learn what makes a presentation work, and then learn how to illustrate it. There are few if any skills you can learn which you will have as many opportunities to use as presenting effectively, and even fewer which will better help you to advance your career.

The evolution of Presentation 2.0 is clear if you contrast Nancy’s and Garr’s latest books with their previous ones. Previously, it seemed that the main battle to be fought was against bad slides, and both authors created powerful ammunition to beat the legions of slideuments and their endless flow of bullets. That battle is not yet won, but the tide is turning.

Yet now it is clear that fixing your slides isn’t good enough. Films don’t win awards only with brilliant supporting roles: they need to have top-class lead actors, and very strong storylines which truly engage the target audience. Slides are just a support, no more. You need to make your ideas resonate, and you need to engage properly with your audience. Only then can your finely manicured slides be effective.

That’s why resonate and The Naked Presenter mark the beginning of a new era in presenting, an era where the audience is paramount; where presentations put ideas on stage, not mere information; where those ideas are crafted and delivered so they resonate with audiences; and where presenters engage their audiences in a naked, authentic way.

This is the Presentation 2.0 era. This is where we can all resonate naked. And our audiences will most definitely thank us for it.

Video: Introduction to Presentation Skills

January 31, 2011

Nobody knows the value of a great presentation better than an entrepreneur. Convincing investors and prospective customers to part with their cash and take a punt on something new and unknown takes great powers of persuasion. How many great ideas never came to market because their purveyors failed their pitch?

I’m therefore particularly pleased that Le Camping, the new Paris-based start-up accelerator, has placed such importance on the quality of the pitch, and even more pleased that they have asked Ideas on Stage (Pierre Morsa and myself) to coach the twelve teams.

Below you’ll find the first talk I gave them about the art of presenting. This doesn’t focus on the investor pitch in particular – that will come later – but it was aimed to give them a sense of dissatisfaction with the ‘received wisdom’ of how to present, and a thirst for more theory and practice so they can hone their pitches ready for ‘Investor Day’ and for their first customers. For anyone else, it’s a free 90-minute introduction to presentation skills, similar to the courses I give to executives at HEC Paris.

A little context, to save you from being perplexed:

  • Before I began, each of the start-ups gave a 1-minute pitch of their company, and I refer back to these at some points.
  • The team at Le Camping have edited it together quickly, and while the sound quality is very good, the video quality (from a fixed camera) is not the best, although that hardly matters since they’ve chosen to make the slides much larger than me in the ‘montage’. Perhaps my slides were considered more attractive than my face!
  • The slides are mostly in sync with one or two small hiccups. But considering this was being recorded for internal use and not by a professional team, I think they’ve done a fine job. And it’s shared for free so that’s excellent value for money!

That’s all – so if you have 90 minutes to learn about better presentations, sit back and enjoy. And if you’d like a similar talk at your company, school or organisation, or a full training course – in English or French – our contact details are at

Review: Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010

December 13, 2010

From all the comments I’ve received, the Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010 was a fantastic event, highly appreciated by the participants, and throughly enjoyed by everyone.

It was a lot of work to get everything organised, but it was well worth it. Garr Reynolds was superb as always, and led the participants through an entertaining, instructive and memorable afternoon.

The show began, of course, the evening before, when we congregated at Un Dimanche A Paris, the new chocolate-themed concept store opened by Pierre Cluizel just off Boulevard Saint-Germain. Garr was able to meet many fans including some who weren’t able to make it to the seminar itself, and it was also an opportunity for some seminar participants to get to know each other beforehand.

The location was beautiful, the wine delicious and the food (we stayed to eat in the restaurant) was simply sublime. I will be taking my wife there soon. Garr enjoyed the guided tour – and the chocolates!

Pierre’s charming wife Sylvie also provided us with some chocolate mignonnettes (small squares) which were the perfect accompaniment to the coffee break during the Presentation Zen seminar. This was one of three surprises we sprung on the participants. The others were a Presentation Zen Way bento box, and – just at the end – an advance copy of Garr’s new book, The Naked Presenter, which Garr was only too pleased to sign and dedicate.

Between these surprises, Garr’s typically strong performance and the great support provided by Microsoft and Pearson, it was a successful event and although tickets weren’t cheap, it was generally considered great value for money.

But don’t just believe me – there are plenty of participants who have blogged about the seminar, and I’ll put links to their posts and photos in the comments below. (You can find many of our photos here.)

So, time for thankyous.

Thanks to Microsoft (Saïd Sbihi, Blaise Vignon and Christophe Lauer) for hosting the event in such a great room and supporting us so professionally.

Thanks to Pearson (Cécile Legros, Victoria Watkins and Florence Young) for making the bento boxes affordable and for giving away Garr’s new book.

Thanks to Pierre Morsa, my partner at Ideas on Stage, for his tireless enthusiasm and great organisation with tickets, invoices, etc.

Thanks to all the many participants for making it such a special day – I hope we will meet again.

And of course, thanks to Garr for bringing his Presentation Zen Way to Europe and for trusting us with this event, not for the first time, and hopefully not the last.

Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010

September 28, 2010

Ideas on Stage is proud to present a unique opportunity: Garr Reynolds will be giving a one-off Presentation Zen seminar in Paris on December 7th. Book your place here!

The Presentation Zen approach encourages you to think differently and more creatively about communication.

This hands-on seminar uses exercises and examples to explain why most presentations fail, and show you a better way of preparing, designing and delivering presentations. It is highly recommended for anyone who creates or delivers presentations, especially using visual aids such as slides.

Garr Reynolds is a sought-after speaker and consultant worldwide. A writer, designer and jazz musician, he is Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, and Director of Design Matters Japan. His best-selling Presentation Zen won a Certificate of Excellence for design, and the accompanying DVD won two Adult Education awards.

The Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010 is brought to you by Ideas on Stage, France’s leading presentation specialists, in association with Microsoft and Pearson.

This is Garr’s only public seminar in Europe in 2010.

Don’t miss your chance to learn directly from the world’s leading authority on presentation skills. Register now!

Tour de France

July 12, 2010

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog the last couple of weeks (although I have been tweeting regularly via @philpresents). Pierre and I have been extremely busy travelling around France giving training and working with Ideas on Stage customers, helping them with great presentations.

Frankly, there are worse jobs in the world.

Our Tour de France started in Paris, where I gave my first lesson to Executive MBA students at HEC Paris, on the subject of International Presentation Skills. It is so important for any international executive to be able to give strong presentations in English, and even more important that they take time to understand their audience and adapt their messages and their delivery accordingly.  Despite it being the last lecture before the summer holidays, and despite strong competition from a World Cup match, it seems to have been very well appreciated with amazing feedback. I had a fantastic time as well with a very engaged audience.

Next it was down to the fabulous countryside between Nîmes and Montpellier for a one-day course on Visual Presentation Skills with one of France’s leading international companies. At the end of the day, the group analyzed one of their recent presentations, took it apart and put it back together in a far simpler and clearer way. I felt like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap – it was as if my work there was done, and it was time to move on and liberate some other people from the cult of the slideument.

And indeed it was, since I was straight off to Grenoble to join Pierre for a three-day course with the guys from Combodo, a start-up which has a very promising open-source IT service management system and associated services. They are all engineers, extremely strong in technical skills, and wanted to focus for a time on their selling skills. I think it’s fair to say they weren’t disappointed.

Once again, this course showed the power of video. We filmed them before our session on oratory skills, and again the next morning, and the improvement was remarkable. What is more, they realised how important it is to look at ease and professional when presenting, and committed to film each other regularly to ensure they continue to practise all the techniques they learned. They seem to take their company very seriously, while enjoying what they do, and if they give the same attention to their customers then I am sure Combodo will be a great success.

So that was our Tour de France, which finished with our return to our respective homes via Lyon and Paris. I have to say that I absolutely adore giving training, and helping people with their communication skills is extremely worthwhile, so I am feeling very fulfilled and happy – especially now that I’m back with my family and playing soccer with the boys in the garden.

Now, I have plenty of material for a whole lot more blogs so watch this space, and normal service will be resumed shortly.

First reactions from ‘zen & the art of the pitch’

June 26, 2010

I have just returned home from Paris after a brilliant day.  Our event, ‘zen & the art of the pitch‘, appears to have been very well received judging by the various reactions in the twitterverse, and I hope we’ll see some posts soon from the many bloggers in the audience.

As the temperature outside touched 30°C (86°F), the temperature inside the theatre was uncommonly hot, and that was probably the biggest difficulty we had. The 3G reception wasn’t as good as it was when we first visited the theatre, so that restricted the tweets to a lower number than we might have had.  Those, however, were the only major negative points, and everything else ran like clockwork.

Of course the highlight was Garr Reynolds (blogger and author of Presentation Zen). Garr gave a typically exuberant, animated and enjoyable performance, and conveyed a huge amount in the space of an hour of ‘The art of presenting naked’.  He got a well-deserved standing ovation, and completely sold out the advance copies of his latest book, ‘Presentation Zen : Design’ in French which is due for release on July 6th. He also spent a long time signing books, and was thoroughly exhausted by the end. Garr really gave his all, and it was appreciated by everyone. Garr is not just extremely talented, he is a truly great guy too.

The other parts went well too. Laurence Onfroy (founder of TemptingPlaces) conveyed some very important learnings from her pitching experience, and as the New Entrepreneur of the Year in France, she was in a great position to help the many entrepreneurs in the audience to think about how they might pitch differently, by seeking to make a connection with people, adapting on the fly to make sure you are meeting their expectations, handling time carefully, and getting people to pull information from you rather than pushing it at them.

Pierre Morsa’s talk about ‘Death by Twitter’ went down very well, using true stories to show how social media are affecting presenters and leaders, whether they embrace social media or not, and how authenticity and sincerity, together with reactivity, are keys to making the best of social media.

Judging by the Twitter feed (#zenparis) my introduction went down very well too, even though I dared to talk about football and crack a few jokes at the expense of the unfortunate French team!

For me, though, the most positive point of the evening was the audience. With a little over 60 people there, the room could have been fuller, although it appeared quite full as it was. It was just the right number of people for the breaks and the cocktail reception, allowing plenty of networking. More important than the quantity though was the quality. This was a fantastic audience of people who value design and presentation, who mostly already embrace social media, and who are open to learn more. I had far more pleasure exploring pitching skills with 60 or so people like that than I could have with 500 people who were only mildly interested.

So I’d like to say a big thankyou to Laurence for her great talk, to Pierre for his part and all the hard work he put into organising the event, a huge thankyou to Garr for accepting our invitation to headline the event and for bringing it home so expertly, and finally thanks so much to everyone in the audience, who made the event special for us all, none more than me.  It will be a pleasure to see you again at future events.

I look forward to reading the various blog posts over the coming days, and invite everyone to enter a comment here with a link to your posts so we can all read them.

Event: zen & the art of the pitch

June 15, 2010

Garr Reynolds on stageI am delighted to announce that on June 25th, Garr Reynolds will be joining us in Paris for a memorable show: zen & the art of the pitch.

Presentation experts need no introduction to Garr. As the author of the excellent Presentation Zen and the recent follow-up Presentation Zen: Design, Garr has a worldwide following and universal respect.

Garr will headline this event with a keynote entitled: “Presentation Zen Design: the art of presenting naked”. If you are in Paris – or could be – on June 25th, you absolutely have to be there.


Next on the impressive list of speakers is Laurence Onfroy, founder and CEO of TemptingPlaces, who was recently voted New Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 by readers of “Le nouvel entrepreneur” magazine.  Laurence’s talk, “Pitching for Success”, will cover the important lessons she learned about pitching your business to customers, suppliers and investors.

Last but not least, presentation coach and co-founder of Ideas on Stage Pierre Morsa will deliver a fascinating talk entitled: “Death by Twitter: how social media can kill your talk – and how to avoid it”. This is a must-see for any entrepreneur and business leader, and promises to be very entertaining as well as instructive.

(In case you’re wondering, I’ll be there too, introducing all these great speakers.)

The theme is all about pitching or selling your business, your ideas and your value proposition, and while we expect it to appeal especially to entrepreneurs, there’s plenty to entertain and inform anyone who uses presentations to sell or persuade. If you’ve never seen Garr speak before, this is your chance – don’t miss it.

Important note: the whole event will be run in English.

The event will conclude with a cocktail reception – one of many things the French do best – which will be a great opportunity to network, and perhaps get signed copies of Garr’s books.

Tickets are now on sale here and places are very  limited – we expect them to sell out very quickly, so mark your diaries and get your tickets before they run out.

Place: La Comédie Saint-Michel, 95 boulevard Saint Michel, 75005 Paris, France

Date: Friday June 25th, 2010

Time: 4.30pm-7.00pm, followed by a cocktail reception.  Doors open at 4.00pm for a welcome coffee.

Tickets: on sale here


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,362 other followers

%d bloggers like this: