Tour de France

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.


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