Welcome to Andrea Pacini, UK Presentation Director

by Pierre Morsa

This March Andrea Pacini joined Ideas on Stage as UK Presentation Director, meaning that Ideas on Stage now has a direct presence in France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom - and we serve the rest of the world from these four locations.

We sat down with Andrea for a short interview.

Q: What is your background? A: I am Italian, and I studied in Italy and Ireland. I then did an internship in Cambridge, where I fell in love with the UK and decided to stay there. I’ve been living in London for 6 years now. From a professional perspective, my background is sales and business development for international companies. In parallel I have worked to help others deliver great presentations.

Q: What made you so interested in helping others deliver great presentations? A: The moment was ten years ago, when I read Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. This is when I realized there was so much more than just PowerPoint. But more than that, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a kid, I used to follow people like Richard Branson, trying to learn the tips and tricks to be successful. I still read a lot of business books. I then realized that all great entrepreneurs are top communicators. And that’s when I switched my interest from pure entrepreneurship to presentations. It then led me to the realization that most business presentations suck! This is why I decided to help business people improve their presentations. What really fires me up, my passion, is the place where business intersects with communication.

Q: What made you want to join the Ideas on Stage team? A: Like I said, Presentation Zen helped to open my eyes to what the potential of a well thought out and designed presentation could look like. Fine. But the entrepreneur in me wanted to apply this wisdom in business situations. This is how I came to discover Ideas on Stage. With their business backgrounds, Pierre and Phil and their great team pioneered the path of taking Presentation Zen principles and applying them to the entrepreneurial and business space. This ticked both my boxes. Then as a bonus, I discovered the close relationship between Garr and Ideas on Stage. So when I finally decided to turn my presentation hobby into a new career, joining Ideas on Stage was the best-case scenario for me. And I was right – we are so closely aligned that it seems like we have been working together for many years already.

Q: Do you prefer to work with smaller or bigger companies? A: It doesn’t really matter, I love to work with both! The challenges are different, but all companies, regardless of their size, have a big weakness in the preparation phase. Everybody starts working on their presentation by opening PowerPoint, and forget that they first have to know what their objective is, identify the key messages and build a storyline before working on the slides.

Q: Do you think the preparation phase is where most companies fail? A: Definitely. You really have to start by understanding who is your audience, what do they want from you, what’s the context of the presentation, what’s your objective, how are you going to brainstorm to refine your key messages? The preparation phase is really where the magic happens. Especially in large companies, people think a presentation is a bunch of bullet points in PowerPoint.

Q: Is there anything companies could learn from events like TEDx? A: Oh yes, TEDx has been instrumental in helping to improve presentations. So why not take the ingredients that make a TEDx speech so engaging, and apply them to your business presentations? Business presentations don’t have to be boring! Of course a successful boardroom presentation won’t be exactly like a TEDx talk, but like TEDx it should be short, simple, well-structured, with good use of examples, and delivered convincingly.

Q: Something else you are passionate about? A: I love craft beer! You know, beers produced by microbreweries. Just like every presentation should be original and different, with a focus on quality not quantity, I think the same way about beer! I love to discover different beers, and I go to beer tours to find new and original tastes.

Thank you and welcome Andrea, we’re delighted to have you on board. Cheers!