Two Great Reasons To Come To Paris

September 14, 2011

Last year, the fantastic Garr Reynolds came to France for a one-off Presentation Zen European Seminar. It sold out well in advance, and was a rousing success. People came from nine countries, including the USA, to learn from the world’s leading presentation expert. This year, he’s back for more.

On November 14th 2011, Garr will return to Paris to deliver his only public seminar in Europe this year. Tickets are now on sale exclusively at – so don’t miss your opportunity: sign up now.

But that’s not all. We are also delighted to announce the Ideas on Stage Conference 2011, which will be held on November 15th 2011. This is the first in what we hope will be a series of top-class social conferences, bringing together amazing speakers and leading innovators, entrepreneurs and communicators for an event which will be as memorable for its networking opportunities as for the top-quality speakers.

You could think of it as a ‘TED for business’. The focus is on innovation, communication and entrepreneurship:

  • Innovation, which is the lifeblood of any business, large or small;
  • Communication, without which even the best innovations get nowhere;
  • Entrepreneurship, which is vital for transforming great innovations into profitable, sustainable businesses – as much for big firms as for start-ups.

We’ll be announcing a line-up of top-quality speakers, and social tools to facilitate networking before, during and after the event. Garr Reynolds will be one of the keynote speakers (so that gives you an idea of the quality we’re aiming for) and we have many others who will leave your minds buzzing with creative business ideas.

Places are strictly limited for this first event in November, so get in early and take advantage of special Early Bird prices (valid until October 1st). You can also buy a combined ticket for the Presentation Zen European Seminar and the Ideas on Stage 2011 Conference, and save even more.

You don’t normally need excuses to come to the beautiful city of Paris. Here are two great ones – and we hope they will convince you to come to Paris, have a great time, and take home top-class presentation skills, brilliant business ideas, useful new contacts, and happy memories – as well as those little plastic Eiffel Towers.

Sign up now and we look forward to welcoming you to Paris!


TEDx Paris 2011 – An inside (re)view

January 19, 2011

Over a month ago, while we were preparing the speakers for last weekend’s fantastic TEDx Paris 2011, Prof Francine Leca asked us:

But why do you all do this, and for free?

As the conference drew to a close, and Prof Leca brought the audience to its 2000 feet, I wrote her a short message explaining simply:

You are the answer to your own question.

It was simply an amazing experience to be involved with so many remarkable people, speakers and organisers, who were all full of the TED spirit which is a thirst for knowledge, discovery, meaning and above all sharing. Francine Leca is an astounding lady whose charity has saved the lives of 1600 children whose hearts would not have let them live without an operation their families could not afford. She gives and keeps on giving. What could be more TED than that?

I also had the opportunity of working with many of the other speakers, some more than others, but even the little oratory tips clearly helped. One speaker stopped crossing his arms and another stopped clutching his head and umming, just in time for the big event. Judging by the many tweets, nobody found the presentations amateurish, and some even claimed that they were so polished as to be not very French. This shows how much the speakers worked at their delivery as well as their content, and some did make a huge effort.

Some did not want or need coaching. Etienne Klein speaks in public all the time, and passionately hates rehearsing, so there was no point forcing rehearsals on him – but he showed that he didn’t need any help. Catherine Vidal needed no help either, although she did take the time to rehearse with us to be sure she was hitting the right notes. Francine Leca improvised well around a defined framework, but a rehearsal would have eliminated one slight mix-up on the slides.

On the other hand, rehearsals and preparation certainly helped a number of talks. The first time I heard Etienne Parizot, I understood precisely nothing, but I gave him the idea of opening with 3D TV – something people can relate to – and suggested using a prop to explain his concept. He ended up using a different prop (a large cardboard box) which worked excellently, and while his talk was still quite hard to grasp because of the subject matter, the structure was clear and his enthusiasm transported the audience with him into his four-dimensional virtual reality.

Judging by all the comments and tweets, Etienne’s was among the more popular talks of the day, and that’s simply down to strong preparation using powerful storytelling techniques, and a very visible passion for his subject. If only more speakers showed that much passion.

Likewise, the bestselling novelist Bernard Werber was very interested in any ideas and tips to improve his talk, and it ended up being almost unrecognisable from the first draft. Most of the ideas were his, but he benefited from bouncing them off the team members and integrating our suggestions in some cases, and while like most people he didn’t enjoy rehearsing, he realised how much it was helping him to improve his talk. Again, a little more rehearsing might have helped, but overall he did a fine job especially considering he’s not a regular public speaker.

Bernard was another person I felt honoured to work with, and we ended up talking about writing and communicating. It turns out that his method for constructing novels is very similar to the Ideas on Stage method for creating presentations, and he gave me all sorts of writing advice. It is often said that you get out of something what you put into it. I put plenty into TEDx Paris this year, but boy did I get a lot out of it.

In terms of the slides I created for the speakers, my greatest satisfaction was with those for the renowned journalist and editor Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber. They were clear, simple and attractive, with relevant images, and it was easy for Jean-Louis to handle them and talk to them. We had worked them carefully to have only a small amount of text on each slide, just the key messages, and it was wonderful to see that all those key messages were tweeted and retweeted verbatim.

My overall impression of this edition of TEDx Paris was strongly positive. Of a huge number of tweets, very few were in any way negative, and while different people seemed to appreciate different talks, that’s fine – there was something for everyone, and a whole bunch of fantastic ideas and approaches to take away and share.

The music (from Irma and Djazia, as well as Jacques Dupriez) was excellent, the line-up of speakers was remarkable, and the organisation was top-class (note: I coached speakers and helped with slides, that’s all, so I’m crediting Michel, Sylvain, Xavier and their team and not myself). All in all, an extremely memorable event. TEDx Paris is now an event to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait for the 2012 edition.

We all left the theatre buzzing with ideas, full of energy and motivation, and determined to do something, anything, to share that energy and make the world a better place. That is what TED is all about. As Bernard Werber said at the end of his talk, “Everything good that will happen to our children will be conceived by somebody who’s alive today. Maybe one of you.” Now there’s a call to action…

Photo credits to Olivier Ezratty – his excellent gallery is here.

Tweet-up with Garr Reynolds

December 3, 2010

Regular readers will know that Garr Reynolds is about to visit Paris for his only Presentation Zen seminar in Europe this year.

The evening before, we’re organising a tweet-up with Garr. This will be on Monday December 6th. (Yes, this Monday coming!)

What’s a tweet-up? It’s a meet-up shared by social media. Basically anyone can come, there’s no entrance fee, no guest list, no registration – just come as you are and enjoy a relaxed hour or so with Garr and his other fans over a few drinks. If you bring a book along, he might even bring his pen…

This tweet-up will be at Un Dimanche à Paris, a brand-new concept store with its own restaurant and lounge, all around the central theme of chocolate. It is a remarkable place which is well worth a visit, with or without Garr!

So here are the details – feel free to tweet this and tell your friends, so Garr has the chance to meet as many of his fans as possible, and so they have the chance to meet up with their favourite author.

When: Monday December 6th, 7pm-9pm

Where: Un Dimanche à Paris, 4-6-8 Cour du Commerce St André, 75006 Paris

Metro: Odéon (see map below)

We will be in the lounge upstairs – when you arrive, please mention that you are there to see Garr.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday!

Presentation Zen Euro Seminar: What an audience!

October 21, 2010

Tickets for the Presentation Zen European Seminar 2010 are selling very well, and bringing people together from all over Europe – and beyond.

Garr Reynolds’ only public seminar in Europe this year (in Paris, France, on December 7th) is proving to be an amazing attraction. So far, we have participants from all these countries:

  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden
  • Spain (mainland and even Tenerife!)
  • USA
  • (and of course France)

This is going to be a memorable event not only thanks to Garr’s electric presence, but also because of the fantastic diversity of the group of participants. And since there will be plenty of exercises, some in small groups, everyone will have a chance to learn from each other.

We’ll make sure we all have a chance to get to know each other over a light lunch, and for those of you who are arriving the day before in Paris, we’ll have a pre-seminar meet-up somewhere in Paris on the evening of December 6th.

If you haven’t got your ticket yet, hurry up – there aren’t many left, and this is an event which is not to be missed. Garr, Pierre and I are looking forward to meeting you all.

(P.S. – Paris is wonderful in December, so if you want to prolong your stay, you could also join the Art of Presenting course which Pierre and I are running with our company Ideas on Stage on December 8, 9 and 10 – it’s in English and it’s the perfect opportunity to practise the Presentation Zen approach in a much smaller group. Only a few places left so sign up quickly…)

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!

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

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