A student’s view of Ideas on Stage

by Nayab Mohammad — September 2, 2019

Recently I had the chance to do an internship with Ideas on Stage, which has been by far one of my best experiences.

At first, I didn’t quite know what I had stepped into. It was a totally new place and I walked in full of curiosity.

You might know the famous saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman.” Well, within this week I understood that “behind every successful presentation there is Ideas on Stage.” They possess the secret key to turn anyone into an excellent speaker. They don’t work miracles, but they have enough magic to turn awful presentations into brilliant ones.

Furthermore, I met a team with original personalities. A bunch of creative, cool and awesome people willing to take boredom out of this world. They are like a big family working in an enjoyable atmosphere, and I loved that.

I always carry a quote in my bag that says “You learn something new every day,” which fits perfectly with the description of this week. Let me tell you more about it.

Marine Bénard welcomed me on Monday morning, presented the company and kindly accompanied me throughout the week. Also, she handed me The Business Presentation Revolution, which, to make it short, taught me that if you want to SCORE in life you must learn your ABCs. (What does that mean? You’ll need to read the book or follow the course!)

The next day was a big dose of inspiration, motivation, and admiration. When I spoke with Phil Waknell, one of the founders of the company, I learned not only about Ideas on Stage’s values, but I also got tips on how to make a business work and what leadership is about. Phil enlightened me when he affirmed “Leadership is the art of being followed.”

Speaking of art, my favorite pieces of art are humans. And I believe speaking is a fundamental need for human beings. According to René Descartes, the French philosopher, the use of language as a manifestation of thought and ideas, makes the distinction between humans and animals. Therefore, working on communication is fundamental.

On Wednesday afternoon, I asked Vanessa Querville why she likes her job and she told me that it’s all about the impact. When she feels her coaching is moving something forward, helping the other person progress, that is when she gets a real sense of achievement. She faces a challenge to bring out the best speaker we can be.

With Frédéric-Pascal Stein, on Thursday afternoon, I understood that the magic of Ideas on Stage is to make us realize what someone in their right mind would do when it comes to presentations and pitches: be clear and simple. Get straight to the point. Do not annoy anybody, including yourself, with pointless details. Be confident and be yourself. A lot of what Ideas on Stage does is to show us obvious things we don’t manage to notice by ourselves.

On Friday, I got the opportunity to attend a coaching session with Michael Rickwood and I saw the way he adapted himself according to what his client needed. If the person needed to be reassured or if they only needed advice with some encouragement, Michael did what was most appropriate and did not try to impose a method his client was not looking for.

Only a small number of experiences change your perspectives, and this is one of them. I came out of this internship changed, transformed. These people caught 100% of my attention and my brain was fully concentrated and focused the entire time. Sharing their world for some time, and feeling as if I was a part of it, was wonderful.

People often misuse the word outstanding, but Ideas on Stage can be qualified as outstanding because they do things differently. They are different and that is why they stand out from the rest. They deserve great things and something I will never forget from my internship is what Phil told me, it goes something like “be kind and life will be kind to you.”

Nayab Mohammad

Ideas on Stage Champs Élysées