Training Encounters are learning activities that involve facilitator contact :

  • Excellence in Customer Communication: a short course for Technical Sales and Applications Engineers
  • Flash Training allows flexible content selection, scheduling and location while preserving many of the benefits of face-to-face encounters.
  • Events: Short sessions, often plugging into sales conferences and other company gatherings, to inform, entertain and even launch a training program. The workshop format is often used, either to deal with a specific issue or as part of a larger program.

Classroom courses

Our approach is based on a fundamental principle of communication: that a message must be adapted to its audience. We focus on the issues that are the most relevant to a very specific group of people: technical experts, either in customer-facing or manager-leader roles. We structure our material appropriately and present it in the tribal language – always with relevant examples.

Please note that we can either train directly, or we can train your trainers – whatever suits your organisation best.

Our main course, Excellence in Customer Communication uses a structured approach to business communication, providing not only tools for the work, but also language and models that can be customised to suit individual and team needs.

Excellence in Customer Communication is for Customer-Facing Engineers (CFEs), a term that covers a range of job titles, from Application Engineer, through Sales Representative, Developer and even Marketing manager – people who are essential to efficient communication back and forth along complex B2B value-chains.

Trainees may have a range of customer-facing experience, from a few months to tens of years – it doesn’t matter. Experience is necessary to do the job, but it’s not sufficient when selling and supporting ever more complex technology in increasingly dynamic markets. Tools and methods that support individual and team performance are essential!

Excellence in Customer Communication uses ICON9, a system of tools and methods designed for Technical Sales Support. Some are at a foundation level, covering topics such as Encounter Preparation, Getting Meetings Started and Learning Discovery, while others support more advanced work on Guiding Discovery, Presentation, Confrontation and Negotiation. In other words, we equip trainees to both (1) do easy, routine things fast and well and (2) tackle difficult, complex tasks effectively.

The course textbook, Client Encounters of the Technical Kind, together with the ICON9 web pages and other ICON9 collateral support trainees both during the course and as they integrate the learning material into their routines.

ICONDA’s considerable training database includes many alternative exercises and examples, built up from work with companies all over the world. This ranges from direct customer work to lab-based support, it includes service-based and product-based offerings, it covers software, component and custom-designed solutions and it applies to direct- and distribution-based sales. We can therefore make a bridge from the conceptual to the practical level in a way that less specialised training courses cannot.

Product summary

Training course: Excellence in Customer Communication, for anyone in Technical Sales/Technical Sales Support

Numbers: 2.5 days (usually); 8-16 participants; 50% exercises. Variants: inter-company and intra-company (private). Customisation (intra-company courses): core modules are complemented by options (details available on request); examples and exercises are made company-specific. Facilitation: Andy Betts is the lead facilitator and he may work in collaboration with others (including people from your company). Language: English or French; printed materials are in English. Assessment: Kirkpatrick levels 1 and 2 tests. Location: No restriction. Pricing: A quotation will be made based on requirements.

Flash Training

Andy Betts, Iconda Solutions

Flash training consists of 45-minute, remote sessions supported with quality studio material and literature. It can be deployed in several  ways:

  • As a complement to classroom training, allowing trainees to cover advanced material of particular interest and relevance to them
  • As an independent program for technical sales teams, launched at a company conference, for example
  • At an individual level, for professionals making a transition between jobs or becoming more exposed to customers in their current role

We cover all the core material from our main training program, Excellence in Customer Communication: everything from the client encounter process – which provides a foundation that we build upon – to advanced topics, such as collaborative problem-solving and negotiation in a technical context.


Workshops are arranged to kick-off training programs, to punctuate them, or simply as the need arises. Their duration is typically one day or less, and they might fit in with some other company event, such as a sales conference. Apart from the duration, a workshop’s distinguishing characteristic is that it focuses on a particular issue. For example, creating presentation material for a new market segment, integrating a new team into a distribution network, even creating a training course!

Seminars can be shorter still, but their important because their goal is usually to stimulate motivation. We have a particularly popular seminar in ICONDA called “Working and Learning Under Pressure”. For some reason, everybody seems to need to know how to do this!

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Training events

Training Experiences and Testimony

Many of our training experiences are captured in articles, together with testimony from our customers. Here is the latest post …

Helping Engineers Maximise the Positive Impact of their Expertise

It's well known that many professionals have difficulty communicating with people outside their speciality and it's not unusual for start-ups to be frustrated by an indifferent world – "why does nobody appreciate our great idea??"!

Ironically, this problem exists because we're intelligent. If we weren’t preoccupied by the complexity of our subject, then we'd get to the point more easily, our explanations would resonate with others and we'd grow in confidence and skill. As it is, we tie ourselves in knots, nobody understands, and we get nervous about repeating the experience.

The very abilities that constitute our added value inhibit the expression of that value.

10 years ago, I started carving out a niche to address this issue for engineers, particularly Applications Engineers and others involved in customer facing work. Trainings and workshops, events, a book, team leader coaching ... all aimed at making client encounters more enjoyable and productive for technical specialists.

Looking back on failures and successes (they happen in that order :-), it seems to me that:

... read more ...


Other Recent Posts

Helping Engineers Maximise the Positive Impact of their Expertise

It's well known that many professionals have difficulty communicating with people outside their speciality and it's not unusual for start-ups to be frustrated by an indifferent world – "why does nobody appreciate our great idea??"! Ironically, this problem exists because we're intelligent. If we weren’t preoccupied by the complexity of our subject, then we'd get to the point more easily, our explanations would resonate with others and we'd grow in confidence and skill. As it is, we tie...

Circuit Archaeology with the Help of Amiq

What do you do when you have to perform risk analysis on a 20 year old circuit design and the information available consists of 30 vintage, undocumented VHDL files? (VHDL is a Hardware Description Language – an HDL).In my case, a quick email not only provided the solution, it also restored my faith in human nature and the power of generosity and trust in business.A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Amiq’s offices in Bucarest to stage a communication methodology...

The Customer-Facing Few

Consider what it takes to build an aircraft carrier and put it out to sea. Tens of thousands of contractors crossing multiple disciplines, organisations, states and countries are involved. Another ten thousand or so do the actual construction. About five thousand sailors then sail it out of port. Finally, a handful of pilots take to the sky. And so the ultimate success of seventy to eighty thousand people depends on these few pilots – the only ones to actually make contact with the...

Team Building and Training as One Activity

Nowadays, classroom-based professional training is all about learning activities – labs, simulations, role plays, serious games, and so on. Over the past ten years, I would say, there has been a major shift away from subject matter lectures towards experimentation and coaching (the business of acquiring information and theory tends to be done online wherever possible). As well as a place for experimentation, classroom training also provides great opportunities for team building. Of...

Teledyne Dalsa Warding Off the Hurry Monster

The Hurry Monster (not to be confused with the Worry Monster – a cuddly toy – and the Panic Monster – a superb invention of Tim Urban’s) frightens us into rushing tasks that we would otherwise perform brilliantly. And he can have a disastrous effect on Customer Communication. He’s looming in the background of the above group photo, taken after a training on Excellence in Customer Communication at Teledyne Dalsa in Krailling, Germany, last month. Martin Grzymek’s, Teledyne Dalsa’s Director of...

Energy Control & Pre-Match Planning – the Axcelis example

Axcelis knows how to manage high energy with precision – its core business is the supply of ion implanters to the semiconductor industry. The company provides vital machines for the manufacturing process behind modern electronics. Axcelis certainly contributed to building the device with which you are reading these words! The training program that we’ve launched together aims to harness a different kind of energy – the human kind – and apply it with precision to the challenging task of...

Preparing for Customer Intimacy with Communication Training

KORTIQ knows that its Product Development Team – now busy creating advanced Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) solutions – is critical to winning customers and building long-term commercial relationships. It’s strong technical culture is an asset that it can be proud of and must exploit. Exposing this culture and the people who embody it is key to a business stratagem known as Customer Intimacy. To enable it, we launched a training program – Excellence in Customer Communication - at KORTIQ’s...

Metacommunication: the importance of talking about talking

Just as metadata means data about data, metacommunication is communication about communication[1]. When I complain about the media’s tendency to awfulize and terribilize, I am metacommunicating. Instead of explaining what I mean with long sentences and examples, I use a couple of simple, expressive words[2]. Metacommunication is important because communication is important. And just as you can’t get better at football if you don’t understand the abstract concepts of attack and defense, it’s...

Leadership and Resisting Other People’s Problems (3 of 3)

In a couple of recent posts, I suggested a magic spell to help you avoid taking on other people's problems: "And what would you like to have happen?". Assume that you've mastered this formula and have used it on a colleague who is now standing (spellbound) in front of you; how do you move them from their frozen state into one of action? In other words, now that they realise that you're not going to solve their problem for them, how do you help them decide what to do next? It's simple: you...

Leadership and Resisting Other People’s Problems II

As explained in a previous post, “And what would you like to have happen?” is a magic spell, taken from Clean Language and the Five-Minute Coach, that helps you inspire others to find their own solutions. When you cast the spell on someone, their desired outcome magically appears and they rush off to work out an action plan. Sometimes. Alas, as any Hogwarts student will tell you, magic spells only work if you know how to use them. When this particular one goes wrong, it’s a monkey that...

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