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 …

Difficult Conversations: Bridges with Trolls

Trolls are trouble when you want to cross a bridge. Especially when the bridge in question is slippery and swaying.  They can takes ages to deal with and, of course, trolls present a health and safety hazard.

A Difficult Conversation is like crossing a troll bridge.  The bridge itself represents the underlying, “normal” conversation, with one or two challenges and an objective of attaining something on the other side. The troll is a particularly difficult issue and our options are, broadly speaking, to run away (avoid the issue) or resort to force (escalate the issue?) or tame the troll.

... read more

Other Recent Posts

Postures possibles pour « managing up »

Voici une bonne nouvelle concernant les diverses compétences en matière de communication, applicable à n'importe quel contexte : si vous interrogez des professionnels sur ce sujet aujourd'hui, vous obtiendrez d'excellentes réponses - nettement meilleures, je crois, que ce que vous auriez pu attendre il y a une génération. D'une certaine manière, quelque chose s'améliore. J'en veux pour preuve une enquête flash réalisée par mon collègue, Suraj Ethirajan, dans le cadre de la préparation d'un...

Bref et factuel : comment aborder un Échange Difficile

Suraj et moi avons diffusé un podcast sur les conversations difficiles il y a quelques jours et nous avons demandé aux participants des idées sur les meilleures pratiques. La personne qui a suggéré "Se concentrer sur le problème" a expliqué : lorsque vous confrontez quelqu'un, parlez du problème et évitez toute critique, même indirecte ou discrète, de la personne. À notre avis, cette phrase résume bien l'un des principes les plus importants de la gestion des conversations difficiles. Il n'y a...

Brief and Factual: How to Approach a Difficult Exchange

Suraj and I broadcast a podcast on Difficult Conversations a few days ago and we asked participants for ideas on best practices. “Focus on the problem” was suggested and the person who’d suggested this explained: when confronting someone , talk about the issue and avoid any criticism, however indirect or discreet, of the person. In our view, this nicely captures one of the most important principles of dealing with difficult conversations. There's only one slight problem: how do we avoid being...

Mener des Conversations Difficiles avec des Intentions Ajustées

Mon client aborde à nouveau la question de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, comme il l'a fait lors de la dernière réunion et de la précédente, et depuis aussi longtemps que je me souvienne. Comme d'habitude, il le fait juste au moment où j'aborde des sujets qui me tiennent à cœur et où la question est accompagnée d'une expression d'angoisse, comme si l'apocalypse était proche. Ayant été dans cette position auparavant, j'ai des données et des arguments pertinents à portée de main et une réaction...

Réconcilier les Échanges Difficiles : Apprivoiser le Troll

Si une conversation est un pont et une partie particulièrement difficile de cette conversation un troll, alors que représente le troll ? Ce n'est certainement PAS la personne avec laquelle je traite. Imaginer mon patron, mon collègue, mon client ou toute autre personne comme un troll peut être tentant parfois, mais ce n'est pas encouragé. Au contraire, si nous acceptons la définition de Grenny et al des conversations cruciales comme étant celles où les émotions, les opinions et les enjeux sont...

Conversations Difficiles : Des Ponts avec les Trolls

Les trolls sont un problème quand on veut traverser un pont. Surtout lorsque le pont en question est glissant et vacillant.  Il faut parfois des heures pour s'en occuper et, bien sûr, les trolls représentent un danger pour la santé et la sécurité. Une conversation difficile, c'est comme traverser un pont de trolls.  Le pont lui-même représente la conversation sous-jacente, "normale", avec un ou deux défis et l'objectif d'atteindre quelque chose de l'autre côté. Le troll représente un problème...

Leading Difficult Conversations with Adjusted Intentions

My customer brings up supply chain issues again, just as they did last meeting and the one before, and for as long as I can remember now. As usual, this is done just when I’m getting to topics that are important to me and the question is accompanied by an agonized, apocalypse-is-nigh expression. Having been in this position before, I have relevant data and arguments to hand and an instinctive reaction is be to bring these out, prefixed with an inflammatory, “As I have explained several times...

Reconciling Difficult Exchanges: Taming the Troll

If a conversation is a bridge and a particularly difficult part of that conversation a troll, then what does the troll represent? It is certainly NOT the person I am dealing with. Imagining my boss, my colleague, my customer or anyone else as a troll may be tempting sometimes, but it is not encouraged. Rather, if we accept Grenny et al’s definition of crucial conversations as those where emotions, opinions and stakes are high, the troll is the emotional part. Once we’ve dealt with this and...

Difficult Conversations: Bridges with Trolls

Trolls are trouble when you want to cross a bridge. Especially when the bridge in question is slippery and swaying.  They can takes ages to deal with and, of course, trolls present a health and safety hazard. A Difficult Conversation is like crossing a troll bridge.  The bridge itself represents the underlying, “normal” conversation, with one or two challenges and an objective of attaining something on the other side. The troll is a particularly difficult issue and our options are, broadly...

Possible Postures for Managing Up

Possible Postures for Managing Up Here’s some good news about diverse communication skills, applicable to any context: if you question professional people about this topic today, you’ll get some excellent answers – significantly better, I believe, than what you could have expected a generation ago. Somehow, something’s improving. As evidence of this, I cite a flash survey performed by my colleague, Suraj Ethirajan, as part of our preparation for a podcast on “managing up”. In brief, the...

Learning Objectives Enable Flexibility in STMicroelectronics Training

It may seem, when searching for training solutions, that the options are either Do It Yourself, represented here as Bleriot crossing the Channel in his own machine, or a low-risk, catalog-based solution - the P&O Ferry. Mega exciting on the one hand , but will it get you to where you want to go? As predictable as the tides on the other, but can such a standardized package take you to the leading edge of the subject? Fortunately, there are alternatives. Training can be created using mature...

Why it’s hardest to communicate when it matters most

See also this video. Communication has special challenges when it comes to science and technology. Have you ever noticed that when you are burning to explain …when it seems really important to convince other people that you know what you’re talking about …then this is precisely when it’s hardest to have impact? Why?  It’s because the very thing that you want to share – your hard-won expertise – is actually an obstacle to communication. Your knowledge and technical instincts are like baggage...

Do Your Best Thinking!

If you are trying to solve tough problems at the moment, then be careful not to let your mind brood or worry. Brooding is where you get stuck in the past, ruminating, kicking yourself for not buying Zoom shares in January, for example. Worrying is letting fear take a hold, so that the future becomes a source of dread. In both cases, we would do well to remember Hamlet ‘s words: “nothing is ever good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. To do your best thinking and stay on track, consider taking...

Half and half

Anita Roddick* once said: If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room The corona virus seems to have taken the place of the mosquito 😉 So, making a virtue out of different necessities, my colleagues and I delivered two half-remote training courses last week. One to EDA Solutions FAEs where, for (political) reasons that had nothing to do with the famous virus, one of the FAEs could not leave his country of origin to attend. Proud to be the...


Three easy-to-read items to keep in sync with you ...

Bees and FAEs

At the start of a recent training course, each person introduced themselves by citing an animal that could do their job, then explaining why. One of the Field Application Engineers (FAEs) in the audience put forward a bee, saying that they buzzed around busily, collecting opportunities (pollen), working hard, doing great things for other people and generally being pretty amazing. Another FAE reminded us of the legendary observation that, at first glance, a bee’s job is almost impossible –...

A Goal Setting Tail

Don't worry, this isn’t the old story about the insecure dyslexic, insomniac atheist who lays awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog. It's about the strange but ultimately effective path that my dog takes when I call him and why this could be a valuable reminder about goal setting. Toby, you see, does eventually come back, fulfilling his contractual obligations to his master and ensuring that he gets fed. At the same time, he thoroughly enjoys himself. The route he takes is always...

The Hurry Monster, RIP

Apparently, I suffer from an affliction which most people manage to avoid. A weird mixture of intellectual laziness and hyperactivity, it once led me to attempt the reduction of German grammar to a handful of equations. Preferably to one equation. Einstein had managed it for physics, I reasoned … 😉 Self-deprecation notwithstanding, I'm still trying to simplify the world into something that I can understand/remember, and the above diagram is one result. I call the inner loop a Short-Circuit –...

A Problem-Solving Experience

Cycling quite fast down a narrow mountain road, I met a lorry coming up it. The result was eight broken ribs on one side, a broken shoulder on the other and a huge problem with getting out of bed. Problem-solving methodologies can be usefully classified as either Systemic or Analytical and this was a great occasion to try them both out. The first morning, desperate to get out of my hospital bed and service my needs, I wriggled, waved my legs in the air and groaned for over half an hour before...

Anna Karenina and Client Encounters

Anna Karenina and Client Encounters All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. This, the first phrase of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, is remarkable for how it sticks in the memory. In complex relationships such as with families or clients, Tolstoy teaches us, there is one way to get it right and an almost infinite number of ways to go wrong. To be happy, a family needs security , physical comfort, time together, rituals, mutual consideration, and so on. All happy...

To contact us ...

9 + 12 =