What a Professor, Chef Gusto and Ratatouille Can Teach Us About Presentation…

Yesterday, I had the greatest pleasure to receive in my REAL mailbox a package from The Royal Mail.

MaxAtKLendMeYourEars Max SpeechMaking

The package contained two brand new books from Max Atkinson: Lend Me Your Ears, All you need to know about making speeches and presentations and Speech-making and Presentation MADE EASY, seven essential steps to success.

What Do Professor Max Atkinson, Chef Gusto and Ratatouille have in common?MaxAtkinson Gusto Remy

They have the recipe of “How to make a Presentation” and I’m going to share their secret…

It had all started with Twitter, with a simple tweet from Max “I am looking for someone to translate my books in French”, followed by a short exchange of DMs (direct messages) and emails. And here it comes, in my mailbox!

I read the biggest one (Lend me Your Ears) yesterday evening and again this morning, and I am even more committed to sharing it with the French audience (I also need to find a French publisher by the way!)

There is especially one sentence, at the beginning and at the end of the book, which is for me the core message:

“Anyone can do it, once they know how”.

“When it comes to mastering the power of the spoken word, the only thing that separates the hesitant majority from the gifted few is an understanding of the needs of audiences and the techniques that meet those needs. Where the gifted minority has the edge is in having had the good luck of being blessed with an intuitive grasp of how to do it. The rest of us need to work at it, but the good news is that everyone who is able to get messages across in a private conversation has the potential to do the same in public…And the great thing is that anyone can do it, once they know how.” Max Atkinson in Lend Me Your Ears.


Does it ring a bell?


In this video clip of the excellent Pixar movie Ratatouille (one of my favorite, with the Indestructibles!),

Gusto, the French Chef, whispers into Remy’s ears his secret:

“Anyone Can Cook!”

I’ve written the dialogue as if it was taking place in your company’s team:

Imagine the CEO of your company, Mr or Mrs Jones, pointing at one your newly hired team member, let’s say Miss Bridget :

– Mrs Jones: “Now, who’s THAT?”

– You: “Oh…Her? It’s nobody.”

– Mrs Jones: “Not nobody: she’s part of the team”

– You: “She’sΒ  (fill in the blank with: lacks experience, not confident,, intern, introvert, shy person, hard-working but dull,not a speaker, not an expert, confused, not clear, not articulate, lacks charisma, etc….). She doesn’t do presentations.”

– Mrs Jones : “But…She could?”

– You: “Hum…No.”

– Mrs Jones :”How do you know? What do I always say? Anyone can present!”

– You: “Well….Yeah, anyone CAN, that doesn’t mean anyone SHOULD!”

Unless you learn how to!

I believe, like professor Max Atkinson and like Chef Gusto, that anyone can learn to make delicious and yummy presentations!Apprentice & Remy

If you feel like my Bridget in the story, you need to find yourself a mentor, like Remy found Gusto in Ratatouille, someone who believes it IS possible.


Someone who believes in YOU.

Someone who will teach you how to and then coach you, empower you, giving you the way to find your own voice, to grow your confidence.


I shared with you “LeΒ  Secret des Chefs”, next I’m going to give you the recipe!

Little Chief, Geronimarion.


13 thoughts

  1. I love the Ratatouille clip as applied to speechmaking. Yes, anyone can present, if they follow a few simple rules — and do the hard work required to become good at it. It’s always surprising to me how many people are not willing to do the work.

  2. This is a great analogy you use here, Marion, since most people do think only the ‘great ones’ can cook. But just as with cooking, when giving presentations you need two things – the ingredients (what you’re going to share with your audience) and the experience in making that dish (speaking before an audience and effectively transferring your message).
    Looking forward to reading your breakdown of those ingredients. πŸ™‚

  3. We love an analogy… especially a cooking analogy…! Nice post.
    Whenever I’m teaching a class on presentation skills, I always mention the fact that I had (have?) a fear of public speaking. I figure if I can present – anyone can.
    Thanks for continuing to inspire… Steve

  4. Thank you,Nick for this encouraging comment and the precious reminder : do the work!
    For me it means prepare, practice and ask for feedback!
    If you help people find the Passion in what they’re willing to talk about, then they will do the hard work with pleasure!

  5. Excellent, Tanveer! I see you’re already ahead of the lessons!:-)
    You’ve encapsulated the essence of public speaking and you are very close to what Great Chef Cicero taught us with “De Oratore” in 55 BC.
    Very Ancient can be very Modern!
    Stay tuned my friend!

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