Ideas on Stage Europe's Public Presentation Expert Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:46:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Celebrating 10 years of Presentation Zen Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:00:47 +0000 Orange Art du Pitch slides.014 copy.jpg

January 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of what can be rightly termed the Presentation Zen ‘movement’. It was on January 18th, 2005 that Garr Reynolds made his first post on the brand new Presentation Zen blog.

Ten years on, I believe it is fair to say that out of the millions of blogs available, Presentation Zen must be among only a handful to have had a lasting impact on the world.

Garr’s blog, and the subsequent books, DVD, talks and seminars, certainly changed my world. While for millions, Presentation Zen opened their eyes to a new approach to presenting, I had been a Zen presenter for many years, but without the name. I was swimming against a stream of bullet-points in my corporate world, communicating differently where conformity was valued, and in hindsight, wandering without a guide, and without any kind of credible justification for my way of presenting.

Garr became that guiding light, a true leader in word and deed, a selfless pioneer who showed the way and gave his followers a desire to emulate his new approach, despite or perhaps because of his humility and lack of ego. Presentation Zen became the source of credibility I needed – so when anyone questioned the different approach, I could just say: “Read this and see for yourself.”

How Presentation Zen inspired Ideas on Stage

It is also no exaggeration to say that Garr was a key factor in the success of Ideas on Stage, which celebrates its fifth birthday this year and has grown remarkably into Europe’s leading specialist in the new art of presenting. We often cite Presentation Zen, TED and Apple as the main influences of our approach and our methods, and have probably bought and distributed more copies of Presentation Zen than anyone else, but in fact Garr’s influence goes beyond that.


Ideas on Stage was originally the brainchild of Pierre Morsa, who like Garr was fed up with the typical ‘slideument city’ style of presenting, and who discovered Presentation Zen while looking for different approaches. In showing Pierre what was possible, Presentation Zen sparked ideas, which became actions, and which became Ideas on Stage.

In fact it was only when Pierre invited me to join his adventure and start the company together that he told me about Garr. So in fact, I first read Presentation Zen five years ago this month. For me it was a revelation. I was just completing my Executive MBA, which had taken so much of what I knew already, given it structure, theory and meaning, and enriched it so I could take my approach to business to the next level. That’s exactly what Presentation Zen did for my approach to presenting.

So Presentation Zen created the spark that led to the creation of Ideas on Stage, but it’s also fair to say that Presentation Zen has been a key factor in our success and growth over the past five years.

We’d only been going for less than two months when Garr accepted our invitation to come to Paris and do a show together: “Zen and the Art of the Pitch”. In a very hot Paris theatre in June 2010, a community was born, the European community of Presentation Zen advocates and fans, which we found ourselves animating. Through Garr’s leadership and the power of his ideas, we ended up at the centre of a loyal band of followers, all aiming to change the world one presentation at a time.

After three Presentation Zen European Seminars and two Presentation Zen Studios, in addition to the first event in June 2010, that community is now stronger than ever. And it is in no small part thanks to that community, and to my article kindly featured in The Naked Presenter, and to the visibility and credibility we gain simply by being associated with Garr, that we’ve grown so fast, and met so many great people around Europe including our growing band of Certified Presentation 2.0 Directors in various countries, some of whom are now full-time specialists at Ideas on Stage.

If a leader is defined chiefly by his or her followers, Garr can be proud to lead a band of such smart, positive people, just as we are all proud to be part of this movement.


The work is only just beginning

Ten years on, despite Garr’s efforts, despite ours, despite TED and Nancy Duarte and Apple, sadly most presentations still suck. Presentation Zen has given its followers a strong distaste for ineffective communication, and the tools to stand out and shine, but we are still a small minority and still suffer awful presentations many times a day. Change is a slow process, even when the arguments are so powerfully made.

Garr has shown us the way, and given us energy to keep swimming against the flow. Ten years on, it’s time for us followers to redouble our efforts, pick up Garr’s baton and run with it, and create followers of our own. As all Presentation Zen fans know, it’s never the presenter that changes the world: it’s the audience. So my call to all Presentation Zen fans is this: you’re not Garr’s audience any more – it’s time to find an audience of your own, take the mike, and spread the word. Be the energy behind the Presentation Zen movement.

The true aim of a leader is not to create followers, but to create more leaders. Garr has done that. It’s up to us to do the same.

Happy Tenth Birthday, Presentation Zen. May that just be the beginning.

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The Bullets Halloween special: Attack of the Bulletpoint Zombies Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:43:16 +0000 bullets 002 attack of the bulletpoint zombies

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The Bullets – The Expert Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:21:02 +0000 The Bullets - The Expert

The Bullets – The Expert

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Prezentation Zen Studio 2014: the future of storytelling Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:06:03 +0000 Ideas on Stage was proud to host the 2014 Presentation Zen Studio, bringing together presentation specialists from all over Europe with special guest Garr Reynolds, renowned presentation expert and author of Presentation Zen.

With participants from no less than nine European countries plus some Americans, not least Garr himself, this was certainly the most important international gathering of presentation experts in Europe this year.

The format for the Presentation Zen Studio is extremely simple and informal. After a delicious and copious champagne brunch in the upstairs kitchen at our favourite restaurant, the sublime Un Dimanche à Paris (the spirit of hara hachi bu had most definitely been left in Nara), some of us gave 5-minute presentations, and between presentations we chatted and discussed, and laugh a lot. There’s no agenda. It just flows (as does the delicious hot chocolate which is a meal in itself).

This year’s theme was storytelling in presentations, and if there was one overriding theme that came out of the day, it’s that telling stories isn’t enough, especially when everyone is doing it. Beyond that, you have to be perceived to be authentic, and full of integrity. That is a greater challenge, but it illustrates how what you say is inextricably linked with how you say it.

Some highlights from the short presentations:

Garr Reynolds began with a short talk covering exercises he does with his students to structure a presentation, starting with an ideal state, then contrasting it with reality, identifying the root cause of why the reality isn’t ideal, showing a solution, and then outlining the next steps to implement that solution. This works well in many situations.


Paul Walker read us an extract from a book, explaining that the two types of learning – emotional learning, and analytical learning – never happen simultaneously, except when listening to stories. Paul also read us some short stories from Tales from the Afterlives, showcasing his remarkable voice which he really should use for vocal work.

Ricardo Bonis gave an example of inauthentic storytelling from Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who made the mistakes of reading his story, not making it real enough, and not delivering it from the heart.

Mark Geljon gave a fascinating summary of some of the key takeaways from the recent Future Of Storytelling conference he attended in New York, which led to a lively debate.

Pierre Morsa of Ideas on Stage gave a musical and inspiring talk about how musicians develop their own unique sound signature, and how speakers need to develop their own signature style, not just in how they speak but in their overall presentation style, much of which is in how they structure their presentations and tell stories. Indeed we found that being yourself is remarkably hard, and Michael Rickwood of Ideas on Stage gave an illustration of his acting training where before learning to play a role, actors first learn who they truly are and how to be themselves: “They break you down to build you back up”.


Matthias Garten gave us four interesting ways to introduce your presentation to make people want to listen. Boris Bäsler told us a personal story of how a meeting with a distiller made him reevaluate his own priorities in life, and his talk incorporated a MAGIQ Moment when he actually gave us a taste of how wonderful his friend’s schnapps tastes. And Dirk Haun, author of Presenting For Geeks, gave us an entertaining example of the importance of authenticity, using a Klingon story (yes, really).


Next to last, Roberto Lalli delle Malebranche gave an excellent talk about how presentation specialists are paid to help brands tell their stories, but in fact there are many more important stories in the world to be told, and he challenged us to ensure that those stories, of poverty, of disease, of the poor, are told just as powerfully.

This led in well to the final talk by Phil Waknell of Ideas on Stage, explaining the role of a Presentation Director, using the example of a recent talk from TEDxWBG at the World Bank Group, with the theme of Ending Poverty. Phil explained how he helped a speaker, playing the Presentation Director role to bring the presenter’s stories out into the open, to help him to structure them and make them meaningful for the audience, and only then helping to illustrate and rehearse the talk. A Presentation Director needs to know enough about speechwriting, slide design and speaking coaching, but what they absolutely need to master is the art of storytelling.

And we then concluded by presenting the certificates to our very first Certified Presentation 2.0 Directors: Marion Chapsal, Michael Rickwood, Ricardo Bonis Calvo, Laura Díaz de Entresotos and Dirk Haun. This follows a lengthy Presentation 2.0 Director Academy, an invitation-only course for presentation specialists, where they learn not how to make a great presentation, but how to help others to create and deliver great presentations, and how to make a business out of it.

With a parting box of Un Dimanche à Paris chocolates courtesy of Ideas on Stage, everyone left feeling full in terms of food, full in terms of energy and positive thoughts, and full as well in terms of human contact and warmth. This network of presentation specialists in Europe is a great bunch of people, brought together by a shared admiration for our sensei Garr-san and his work, and animated by Ideas on Stage through a series of events with Garr since 2010.

An afternoon is always too short, but the sun shone on Paris this October Sunday, and it shone more brightly on each of us, so we were each left wanting more, and looking forward to Garr’s next visit to Europe. Perhaps hara hachi bu hadn’t been left in Nara after all.

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Ideas on Stage: Europe’s TED and TEDx specialists are coaching TEDxWBG Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:16:39 +0000 Since our first mission with renowned photographer and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand for his TED talk in 2009, Ideas on Stage has become Europe’s leading specialist in the short-form high-impact presentation style that works so well at TED and WikiStage.

Ideas on Stage has coached literally hundreds of top speakers for TED, TEDx and WikiStage events, as well as many other prestigious worldwide conferences that ask their speakers to use the same style, such as the Positive Economy Forum (LH Forum) and Centifolia.

We’ve coached speakers for TEDxHECParis, TEDxLille, TEDxDunkerque, TEDxESCP, TEDxParis, TEDxParisUniversités, TEDxPanthéonSorbonne, TEDxLaDéfense, TEDxGoodenoughCollege and TEDxSaintSauveur, some of these on multiple occasions.

Our latest TEDx is a very special one: **TEDxWBG 2014**, aka TEDx World Bank Group. WBG is the World Bank Group, and its event on October 9th is focused on Ending Poverty. It brings together top speakers from the WBG including its President, Jim Yong Kim, and leading activists from around the world, all focused around the WBG’s goal of ending poverty fast.

Ideas on Stage is proud to partner with TEDxWBG, coaching the international speakers to deliver the talk of their lives.

Sometimes we help them write a powerful speech. Sometimes we help them produce high-impact visual aids like slides and videos. Sometimes we help them to become comfortable, confident and convincing speakers on stage. Often, we do all three.

We can help your TEDx (or similar) event in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. It doesn’t matter where you are or where your speakers are: we’ve coached great speakers from California to Australia via Brazil, Nigeria, India, Bhutan and Mongolia. And we offer very special rates for TED and TEDx in return for partner status.

The success of any TED or TEDx event depends on many things, but if everything works well, what people remember is the quality and impact of the talks themselves. That’s where Ideas on Stage can make a good event great.

Organising a TEDx or similar conference? Contact us at

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Spend an exclusive afternoon with Garr Reynolds Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:25:23 +0000 Jpresentation_zen_stones.jpgoin Garr Reynolds and the Ideas on Stage team for a relaxing Sunday afternoon to exchange on presenting, storytelling and changing the world. The event will take place in Paris, on October 27th 2013 from 12.00pm to 5.00pm.

In a private room in a sumptuous Paris restaurant, we will begin with lunch, coffee and chocolate, and then throughout the afternoon we will exchange informally on all kinds of subjects related to presenting and storytelling. Garr will give a short presentation, and participants are invited to prepare a short (4-6 minute) presentation which they can deliver to the group, followed by discussions, tips and ideas. The aim is to have an enjoyable, relaxing afternoon with like-minded Presentation Zen enthusiasts, to make new friends and perhaps see some old ones, and to pick up new tips to further develop our presentation and communication skills.

For this rare opportunity to exchange with Garr, there are only 15 places available. We will start selling the tickets on October 11. We anticipate they will be reserved very quickly so please don’t delay. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Conference Season for Ideas on Stage Fri, 20 Sep 2013 05:02:40 +0000 Autumn 2013 is a busy one for Ideas on Stage, with many conferences to support in addition to our usual training, coaching and design business.

It starts with the LH Forum, in Le Havre, from September 24-27. This conference is the main annual event organized by PlaNet Finance as part of its ‘Movement for a Positive Economy’ under the leadership of Jacques Attali. With 150+ speakers, there’s something for everyone, and we’re coaching the international speakers so their talks are high-quality, just like we did at last year’s inaugural event.

It’s fantastic to work with people from NGOs like the Rainforest Alliance, microfinance firms, the Bhutanese government (Gross National Happiness, anyone?), and social entrepreneurs from all continents to see how people can really make a difference when we work together in a positive way. And that’s our aim in participating in this event.

The end of October will be extremely busy. Phil will be in Grasse for the Centifolia congress, the bi-annual event for the cosmetic and perfume industry co-organised by our good friend Jean-François Noubel from the Collective Intelligence Research Institute, and the amazing Catherine Peyreaud from the Club des Entrepreneurs de Grasse. In 2011, it was a remarkable experience, and this year promises to be even better. Once again, we’ll be coaching a brilliant line-up of speakers who promise to inspire the audience, and once again Phil will be the Master of Ceremonies.

At the same time, in Marseille, Marion will be at the congress of the Association pour le Progrès du Management, working with a classy list of speakers and a very large number of participants – perhaps the largest of all our Autumn conferences.

That weekend, on Sunday October 27th, we’ll be in Paris for a special event featuring Garr Reynolds, bestselling author of Presentation Zen and a regular visitor to Ideas on Stage events. We’ll be coaching the speakers and probably doing a talk or two ourselves as well.
Tickets: to be announced

November is fairly busy too. We’re coaching 9 speakers for the Rencontres de l’Innovation, a bi-annual event for entrepreneurs organized by Réseau Entreprendre in Paris.

And then there’s the Presentation Conference in Darmstadt (Germany), organized by our friends at Smavicon, where Phil will be giving a talk about presentation lessons from TED.

So with all these great conferences, plus two StartupWeekends we’re supporting, and Season 5 of Le Camping about to begin, it will be a busy Autumn for us all, and we’ll be touching thousands of people with the power of great presentations.

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Welcome Marion! Mon, 09 Sep 2013 09:14:21 +0000 marion_chapsal.jpg

Ideas on Stage, the leading European presentation specialists, today announced that well-known international speaking and leadership coach Marion Chapsal is joining the company full-time effective September 1st 2013.

Marion brings many years of top-level experience coaching senior executives and delivering high-quality training courses about presenting, communicating, leadership and intercultural skills. Furthermore, as a renowned expert coach for senior professional women, she brings a new dimension to Ideas on Stage’s wide range of competencies.

“Marion is a great addition to our team,” said Phil Waknell, joint Managing Director of Ideas on Stage. “Our company mission is to provide best-quality presentation design, coaching and training services to quality-focused customers, and that means we need world-class people. Marion’s record speaks for itself, and I have no doubt she will delight our customers and make a significant contribution to Ideas on Stage’s continued success.”

Apart from delivering executive coaching and training, Marion’s primary focus will be to develop the Ideas on Stage European training business. “Over the past three years, Ideas on Stage has developed and honed best-in-class presentation courses that our customers love,” Phil added. “Now our challenge is to bring those courses to a wider audience. This is a business with huge potential, and Marion is ideally placed to develop it.”

“I am delighted to join the fantastic company Ideas on Stage,” commented Marion. “We first met at their exclusive event with international expert Garr Reynolds in 2010. I knew then I wanted to be part of such an innovative and cosmopolitan team. We share the same vision about the future of presentations and I intend to bring my expertise, my creativity and my passion to make this vision a reality in Europe.”

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Pitch 2.0 Workshop @ Made in ESCP Europe Wed, 25 Apr 2012 06:46:48 +0000 We’re pleased to announce that Ideas on Stage will deliver a unique Pitch 2.0 workshop during Made in ESCP Europe, 24th of May 2012 from 5p.m. to 7p.m. This workshop is aimed primarily at Entrepreneurs who want to learn how create a great pitch to raise capital and find new customers.

The event takes place at ESCP Europe, 79 avenue de la République - 75543 Paris France. Anyone can register. The price for Made in ESCP Europe participants is €10, the regular price of admission is €40.

Register to Pitch 2.0 @ Made in ESCP Europe

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Ideas on Stage partners with TEDxParisUniversités 2012 Mon, 16 Apr 2012 08:46:40 +0000 We’re pleased to announce that Ideas on Stage will partner with TEDxParisUniversités to coach the Speakers. The event will take place May 19, 2012 in la Cité des Sciences, Paris, France. The event mixes a panel of professional and student Speakers.

TEDxParisUniversités website

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