5 questions on European Funding answered by Nikolaos Floratos

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Interview of Nikolaos Floratos in Poland arranged by @GrupaPHIN:
Key questions answered:

  1. What are your conclusions/findings from your experience as EC expert?
  2. Why someone should exploit European Funding and Horizon 2020 funds?
  3. Which are the most important elements in successful proposals?
  4. Which are the repeated mistakes in submitted proposals?
  5. Are polish organisations/companies active in EU funding?

Tips for creating great ideas that lead to winning proposals for funding

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Create winning ideas for funding toolThis is Nikolaos Floratos, Founder of the Funding Expert Academy. In this article, I am going to teach you how to create great ideas that lead to winning proposals and are granted funding by European programmes such Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, etc . The famous painter Pablo Picasso has once said that “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else”. His point was that the foundation on anything significant in life is based on ideas. However, how many times an idea that you had, stayed an idea in your mind and you didn’t take any actions to implement it with the fear of failure, or even if you did go ahead with your idea, how many times it lead you to lose money, time, resources, friends? An idea can make us rich or make us poor. An idea can make us feel happy or sad, give us energy or exhaust us, make us successful or failed as entrepreneurs as teachers as innovators as professionals as parents as friends.

We need to understand that we live in the idea age where companies and individuals succeed or go bankrupt and reach bottom because of their ideas. So, Are there ways for us not only to create but also develop ideas that could change the world and at the end make our life meaningful and ourselves matter for others?

Personally, during my whole life I remember myself coming up with new ideas, feeling the energy and this nice feeling of hope that an idea can lead you. But I can say that some of my ideas at some stages in my life lead me to lose money, resources, energy, connection with my family and friends, health and even lose happiness. These were really difficult times for me and could possibly still be if I hadn’t realized that some of our ideas may lead us to mistakes and failures but we need to see those as learning opportunities. We have to realize that as I read somewhere “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it”. This insight made me believe strongly (so strongly that I have it in my background in all my social media channels) and I say it to my students and people I coach “Feel happier and get wiser by looking in the end of the day at your mistakes as learning opportunities!”. This enlightenment didn’t only make me more successful in life but also motivated me to study mistakes and faulty actions made by others and how they addressed them and manage to achieve great things including writing winning proposals for funding in order to learn from them.

But you may wonder for yourself: “Shall I fail in order to become successful?”

Not really since there is another way much much easier and painless. i.e. Learn from the others, learn from those that have failed and have managed to stand up again and build a happy and fulfilling life in their personal and business environment. For example, do you want to be successful in writing winning proposals for funding? Get trained, get a mentor, get a coach!

I give keynote speeches and I run workshops and seminars on how people can exploit successfully funding options (state, public or private) submit proposals to request funding based on great ideas and subsequently deliver valuable projects, services and products in society and make a change. In all those events, I start my speech or training either by asking a relevant question or by congratulating them for coming to my event because they have realized that there is a far better and more effective way of mastering something than learning by doing and sometimes failing and that is learning from the others.

In one of my previous videos, I have talked about the Funding Experts Academy and outlined its main engine, the Funding Expert Transformation Tree

Finally, since our time is rather limited, I am not planning to present the whole Funding Expert Transformation Tree in this video but I will explain briefly the first letter I. from its I.C.R.E.A.T.E.S. System™. We need to work on I. since it is the first step that will lead us to winning proposals.

Without this, we cannot have a valuable product or service offered by us or by our business. If this is missing, then our whole business or organisation may collapse. On the other hand, if this is present then we add value to what we offer and we build a product and service that is meant to flourish. This is of course an

Idea

that is internally validated first and let me explain this. As an intellectual professional and knowledge entrepreneur e.g. manager, proposal writer, entrepreneur, startup owner etc that produces intellectual outputs one of the first elements that you need to do is to create ideas that may have high potential of making a change in your organization, in your business environment or in society. There are specific techniques that I teach on how to create ideas and how to filter the ones that can make a difference. Very often I say to my students that our ideas are like our children that we think they are the most beautiful in the whole world and we expect everyone else to find them beautiful. But reality is not like that, and definitely at least others cannot see all our ideas as the most gorgeous. Therefore, we can apply the following conditions for internally validating our idea and ensuring its potential high value:

A winning idea should support a mission

  • Our idea needs to support the mission of ourselves or of our organization. If it doesn’t support our mission, then we need to drop it. Of course, first we need to specify what is our mission and there are techniques for that

A winning idea should support a vision

  • Secondly, our idea needs to support our vision of ourselves or of our organization. While the mission refers to the present, the vision refers to the future and we need to specify where we wish to be and what we wish to do in the future individually or as an organization and our idea needs to support this. Again there are specific techniques for that

A winning idea requires dedication and devotion

  • Last but most importantly, we need to apply the following trick. We need to ask ourselves the question “If I win today the lottery that allows me to live for some years a comfortable life, will I still go ahead with this idea and invest the winning on implementing it”. If we answer “NO” then we need to drop the idea but if we answer with a big “Yes” then we need to go ahead.

How to create winning ideas

Now you may wonder that this is clear now but in order to validate at least internally our idea, we need to create it first. So is there a way to come up with great ideas that for example can lead to winning proposals and receive funding from European programmes such Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, Structural Funds, etc. The answer is that there many ways and I am just going to touch just one. One of the most effective ways in our area that I suggest and make my students master is 635 brainwriting technique that aids innovation and stimulates creativity.

The name 635 implies that each of the 6 participants will have to write down on a specific worksheet, 3 ideas related a) to a funding priority of a specific programme and b) (very important) related to the mission of the organization or department they belong and they will have 5 minutes for that. That is why we call it 635 – 6 participants, 3 ideas, 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, each of the 6 worksheets is passed on to the right participant and the process is repeated and each participant can get inspired from the idea he reads on the sheet written by his neighbor and contribute to them by integrating or elaborating further. The whole cycle is repeated in total 6 times (the same as the number of participants) i.e. in total 30 minutes. The participants can be alternatively 3, 4, 5 or 7 and the repetition of the whole cycle is modified accordingly. This technique is by far more effective than brainstorming that recently Harvard Business Review critisised it with an article “Why Group Brainstorming is a Waste of Time”. You can google for finding the article in Harvard Business Review as well as more info about 635 brainwriting technique.

But now, I have also an extra surprise for you. You can access a template worksheet for 635 technique that you can use in your sessions by clicking on the link below.

Subscribe to download for free a template worksheet for 635 technique along with useful directions.

Also please post a comment and tell me what you think of the article and feel free to ask any questions. I will be answering questions and reviewing comments personally.

So that’s it. I hope you find it useful and you can apply it to your particular situation in European Funding.

Address Innovation successfully in European Programmes such as in Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe

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Innovation for exploitating EU programmesIf you have watched my previous videos, you should be already aware of my funding experts academy and its main engine the Funding Expert Transformation Tree (FETT) System that conglomerates 17 years of experience in funding, proposal evaluations since 2003 on behalf of the European Commission, input from personal interviews with successful proposal writers and 7 years of training experience. One of the main branches from the FETT system is the C.R.I.T.E.R.I.A. formulaTM that allows you to master a specific methodology and exploit a set of practices for convincing your potential funders on the excellence, impact, and implementation strategy of your proposal. From the formula, I am going to talk briefly on the first I. and that is Innovation and how we can address Innovation in our proposal requesting funding from various programmes such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, etc.

The main aim of your approach is to convince the evaluators or the funders while they are evaluating your proposal how your suggested project is distinct and goes beyond the current state of the art and innovation practices initiated by other parties. Therefore, the main point is to analyse which is the current state of the art and position your project accordingly. In order to make your life much easier and turbocharge the innovation of your project, you need to apply the following steps:

  1. Search in compendia (i.e. official summaries of previously funded projects that are provided in pdf publications or in online databases – see e.g. Cordis for Horizon 2020) and with the appropriate filtering and search keywords identify the most related projects that have already been funded and position your project (identify their main scope, achievements and most importantly their current limitations) and highlight that your project will address those limitations.
  2. Search in research papers and scientific publication databases and with the appropriate filtering and search keywords position your project accordingly. Normally, universities have access through their library to such online databases that you can access either full articles or their abstract as well as citations for academic journal articles. You need to use them. I am quite fortunate as a PhD researcher to have access to such knowledge database and its value is priceless. Alternatively and if you don’t have access to those resources, you should use Google Scholar, Research Gate and Academia that do not require paid subscription. As soon as you identify related research and scientific papers, you should focus mainly your analysis on the limitations and future research.  suggestions of these research activities that are normally mentioned at the end of the paper. You may find the list of such databases at wikipedia.
  3. Search in existing patents for identifying and explaining whether the innovation of your project is in conflict first with an existing patent and secondly whether your innovation complements specific patents or goes beyond them. Make sure that you have addressed adequately any IPR (Intellectual Property Issues) though. The best and most friendly way to look for existing patents is to use the google patents search facility at patents.google.com. This online tools lets you discover, search, and read online about the million patents that have been submitted to either the US (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Also with the Google Prior Art Finder button you can find documents and more detailed info related to a particular patent application or grant. [On how to use the Google Prior Art Finder button, you can watch this video. ]
  4. Search for services and products that exist already in the market and they are related to your project innovations. Identify how your expected project innovations position themselves, e.g. by complimenting, substituting, improving, outperforming existing products and services. Google search in looking particularly for pdf documents as well look on industry magazines could be helpful. Furthermore, it may be worth starting with google books search facility (check books.google.com).
  5. Use Niche Search Engines: Many people use Google as a starting point of filling up sections in their proposal but this is really not a good practice at all since your proposal lacks consistency and it looks more like a patchwork. On the other hand, you can use specialised search engines, such as Topsy and BuzzSumo that identify popular stories around a given topic and get inspired from them.

Also please post a comment and tell me what you think of my article and feel free to ask any questions. I will be answering questions and reviewing comments personally.

So that’s it. I hope you find it useful and you can apply it to your particular situation  for successful exploitation of European Funding.

Innovators are made and not born! Learn How!

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Innovators are made and not born! Learn (1)According to a study made by Harvard, MIT and Brigham Young Universities, it showed that think creatively depends on just one third in genetics and two thirds on the development of specific skills. This is really good news and it is proved also from the practices that well known organisations apply for fostering innovation. Let’s see those 5 skills briefly with real examples.

Skill 1: Connecting things

The ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields is fundamental for being innovative. Breakthrough ideas are most often “intersectional” and occur when we bring concepts from one field into a new unfamiliar area, where ideas and concepts from diverse industries, cultures, departments, and disciplines collide and ultimately igniting an explosion of ideas leading to extraordinary innovations. A very nice example is Medici effect that refers to the creative explosion in Florence when the Medici family brought together people from a wide range of disciplines – sculptors, scientists, poets, philosophers, painters, and architects and as these individuals connected, new ideas blossomed, thereby giving birth to the Renaissance, one of the most inventive art eras in history.

Google believes that ideas come from everywhere and can lead to great innovations as long as they are associated accordingly. They have an internal list where employees post new ideas and everyone can go on and see them, votes on them and comment on how good or bad they think an idea is. These comments lead to new ideas. Steve Jobs had consistently been repeating “Creativity is connecting things”. He was able to generate idea after idea because he has spent almost all his lifetime exploring new and unrelated things, such as the calligraphy, meditation practices and the fine details of Mercedes Benz for example. It is important to highlight that the more our experiences and knowledge, the more connections we can make and fresh inputs trigger new connections and associations and this can lead to innovative ideas.

Actions for improving your connecting things skill and culture: Why don’t you join or create platform(s) (virtual) or a place(s) (physical) that anyone from your organization, department or even community can share their ideas for new products, services, new research items and receive comments? Let’s learn from Medici effect or from Google practices!

Skill 2: Questioning

Most of the great innovators (including the founders of eBay, PayPal, Skype, Dell computer, Salesforce, Apple etc) love upsetting the status quo. They spend a vast amount of time thinking about how to change the world and they like to ask: “if we did this, what would happen?” Most managers focus on understanding how to make existing processes (the status quo) – work a little better (e.g. How can we improve the battery life of smartphone X). Innovators on the other hand, are much more likely to ask “If we double the battery life of smartphone X, how would that change the value proposition it offers?” or “What if we double the battery life of smartphone X, how would that change the value proposition it offers?” Do you see the point.

One of Google’s nine innovation principles is “Creativity loves constraint” and Google engineers thrive on constraints. They love to think their way out of the box and they very often say “We know they said it was impossible, but we are going to do this, this and that to get us there”

Actions for improving your Questioning skill and culture: Keep on asking yourself, your colleagues, your friends, your clients, your partners, your funders

  1. “Why”,
  2. “Why not” and
  3. “What if”.

Ask questions that will help you to see a problem or opportunity from a different angle. A good tip is try spending 15 to 30 minutes each day writing down 10 new questions that challenge the status quo in your organization or in your clients’ one. It is likely that nobody will have the answer to those questions yet but as Peter Drucker (the first guru in project management) once said “The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right questions”.

Skill 3: Observing

Innovators literally act as anthropologists and social scientists since they carefully, intentionally and consistently observe the behavior of potential clients, look out for small behavioral details in the activities of customers, partners, suppliers, and other companies and gain insights on new ways of doing things. Google focuses on users and not on money. They believe if they focus on the users, their behaviors and needs, then money will come. Also Akio Toyoda applies regularly genchi genbutsu philosophy – “Going to the spot and seeing for yourself” and frequent direct observation has been well integrated into Toyota culture.

Actions for improving your observing skill and culture:

Go and watch how certain customers use and experience a product or service in their natural environment. You are suggested to spend if possible an entire day carefully observing the tasks that customers (potential or current) are trying to get done. However, you should not make judgments about what you see (e.g. thinking this is bad or good) but instead observe as silently and neutrally as possible and ask yourself “ what’s different than I expected?”

Skill 4: Experimenting

Innovators make experimentation central to everything they do but in a structured and methodical way. For example, again Google applies the “launch early and often” strategy. They launch it early on Google Labs and then iterate, learning what the market wants – and making it great. For example, some companies think the design of some of their products as an art but Google thinks of design as a science. They run on 1% of their audience a test on whichever design does best against the user-happiness metrics over a two-week period and this is the one they launch. They probably have somewhere between 50 and 100 experiments running on live traffic and the beauty of experimenting in this way, is that you never get too far from what the market wants. The market pulls you back. In addition, since year 2000, lets their engineers spend 20% of their time on experimenting on whatever they want and it trusts that they build interesting things. Bezos sees also experimentation as so critical to innovation that he has institutionalized it at Amazon by encouraging their employees to experiment. He says “If we can get processes decentralized so that we can do a lot of experiments without it being very costly, we’ll get a lot more innovation.”

Actions for improving your experimenting skill and culture:

You can definitely apply some of the practices adopted by innovative organisations that I just mentioned and create a culture of experimentation and innovation. Personally, you can start living and working overseas! A research reveals that the more countries a person has lived in, the more likely he or she is to exploit that experience to deliver innovative products, processes, or businesses. In fact, managers that try out even one international assignment before becoming CEO, their companies deliver higher financial results (7% on average) that companies run by CEOs without such experience. In principle you need to collect knowledge and experiences in work and life and then experiment with them. For example, you can attend seminars and training on topics outside your area of expertise; study a product or process that interests you; read books and industry magazines that help you to identify emerging trends (maybe google trends could be helpful also); learn about different lifestyles and local behavior while you travel. Then develop new hypotheses from the knowledge you have acquired and test them in the invention of new products or processes.

Also find ways to establish regular, small experiments at all levels in your organization or in your client’s one. Openly endorse that learning through failure or through small scale tests is valuable and it goes a long way toward building an innovative culture.

Skill 5: Networking

Innovators go out to meet people with different kinds of ideas and perspectives to extend their own knowledge domains. They aim to establish a network of diverse individuals and dedicate time and energy to finding and testing ideas. They attend idea conferences such as TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), Davos and other Ideas Festival such as Aspen. Such conferences attract artists, entrepreneurs, academics, politicians, adventurers, scientists and thinkers from all over the world that come to share their newest ideas, passions and projects. Michael Lazaridis from Research In Motion, David Neeleman from JetBlue, Kent Bowen from CPS technologies and many others came up with ideas about their products through networking at conferences and elsewhere.

Actions for improving your networking skill and culture

To improve your networking skills, contact the five most creative people you know or will know (check TED speeches as a start for identifying some) and ask them to share what they do to stimulate creative thinking and innovation. Do not hesitate to ask if they would be willing to act as your creative mentors. Apply the motto “Never Eat Alone” and hold regular idea lunches at which you meet a few new people from diverse functions, companies, industries, or countries and discuss about theirs and your innovative ideas and share feedback.

Short Conclusion. We have seen that innovative thinking can be developed and enhanced through specific practices. You need to put aside time and create a culture in your organization or in the client’s one and practice, practice, practice over and over the behaviors described here, to the point that they become automatic. In order to make your life easier and facilitate this process, I have surprise for you. I have prepared a diary template based on the above in order to allow you logging your actions for cultivating the necessary five skills. You can access this template by clicking on the link below.

Subscribe to download the “Boost Innovation Tool”


Also please post a comment and tell me what you think of my article and feel free to ask any questions. I will be answering questions and reviewing comments personally.

So that’s it. I hope you find it useful and you can apply it to your particular situation in boosting your innovation skill and culture at a personal or corporate level.

Reference links

Marissa Mayer’s 9 Principles of Innovation

The innovator’s DNA

Shall I fail in order to become successful in EU or European Funding?

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The famous painter Pablo Picasso has once said that “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else”. His point was that the foundation on anything significant in life is based on ideas. However, how many times an idea that you had, stayed an idea in your mind and you didn’t take any actions to implement it with the fear of failure, or even if you did go ahead with your idea, how many times it lead you to lose money, time, resources, friends? An idea can make us rich or make us poor. An idea can make us feel happy or sad, give us energy or exhaust us, make us successful or failed as entrepreneurs as teachers as innovators as professionals as parents as friends.

We need to understand that we live in the idea age where companies and individuals succeed or go bankrupt and reach bottom because of their ideas. So, Are there ways for us not only to create but also develop ideas that could change the world and at the end make our life meaningful and ourselves matter for others?

Personally, during my whole life I remember myself coming up with new ideas, feeling the energy and this nice feeling of hope that an idea can lead you. But I can say that some of my ideas at some stages in my life lead me to lose money, resources, energy, connection with my family and friends, health and even lose happiness. These were really difficult times for me and could possibly still be if I hadn’t realized that some of our ideas may lead us to mistakes and failures but we need to see those as learning opportunities. We have to realize that as I read somewhere “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it”. This insight made me believe strongly (so strongly that I have it in my background in all my social media channels) and I say it to my students and people I coach “Feel happier and get wiser by looking in the end of the day at your mistakes as learning opportunities!”. This enlightenment didn’t only make me more successful in life but also motivated me to study mistakes and faulty actions made by others and how they addressed them and manage to achieve great things in order to learn from them.

I have realized also something extraordinary that all the great people such as indicatively Tony Robbins, Andy Harrington, Brendon Buchard, Simon Sinek, Stephen Covey, Robert Grene, Robert Kiyosaki, Eric Ries and many many others that made or still make a difference in life of other people had and implemented ideas that failed them miserably. However, they learned from them and they became even more successful that before!

But you may wonder for yourself: “Shall I fail in order to become successful?”

Not really since there is another way much much easier and painless. i.e. Learn from the others, learn from those that have failed and have managed to stand up again and build a happy and fulfilling life in their personal and business environment.

I give keynote speeches and I run workshops and seminars on how people can exploit successfully funding options (state, public or private) submit proposals to request funding based on great ideas and subsequently deliver valuable projects, services and products in society and make a change. In all those events, I start my speech or training either by asking a relevant question or by congratulating them for coming to my event because they have realized that there is a far better and more effective way of mastering something than learning by doing and sometimes failing and that is learning from the others.

Since 1997, I have been working in a business as a manager that my professional success depends a lot on my creativity and systematic approach. Also since 2003, I have been engaged as expert by funding donors (European Commission, Ministries, Associations and Foundations, etc) for evaluating the excellence of ideas and proposals and whether they deserve any further attention or financial support.

After all these years, I have realized one thing, that there is a specific pattern as well as systems, formulas, practices and methods (check my Expert Transformation TreeTM) that creative and successful people follow and their ideas, proposals, products and services differ significantly from the failed ones.

Funding Expert Transformation Tree

Very briefly, You! that you are reading this article and your business success is relying on creative ideas (for example you work as a manager, project leader, salesman, entrepreneur, startup creator, funding proposal writer, teacher, consultant, marketer, developer, researcher etc) you should become an expert on four essential roots, that is the four Cs:

  1. In establishing a Common Language (Lingua Franca) with your business targets e.g. your funders, clients or partners. You need to master techniques on understanding their language, how to approach them and what kind of questions to ask them with the Five Fingers TechniqueTM
  1. Be Consistent by applying a set of specific rituals (steps) that will lead to the successful creation of your idea, proposal, project, product or service based on the I. C.R.E.A.T.E.S. System™.
  2. Be persuasive by learning how to convince your targets on the excellence, impact and implementation strategy of your idea according to the C.R.I.T.E.R.I.A. Formulawhich allows you to build indisputable arguments.
  3. Become fully familiar on how to communicate effectively your skills as expert or the fruits of your implemented idea and increasing significantly your income by applying the Promote & Grow Rich formulaTM.

I can personally guarantee to you that by mastering and applying the above four Cs, you will transform yourself, your projects and your businesses.

Also, such a knowledge is very valuable for personal and professional life but it will be even more significant if you can be certified as an expert by a world-wide vocational award body.

All the seminars that I run can lead to a specialization certificate issued by such an organization that is City and Guilds/Institute of Leadership and Management (www.i-l-m.com).

Finally, since our time is rather limited, I am not planning to present the whole Expert Transformation Tree in this article but I will explain briefly the first letter I. from the I.C.R.E.A.T.E.S. System™.

Without the I. , we cannot have a valuable product or service offered by us or by our business. If I. is missing, then our whole business or organisation may collapse. On the other hand, if I. is present then we add value to what we offer and we build a product and service that is meant to flourish. This is of course an

Idea

that should be internally validated and let me explain this. As a intellectual professional e.g. manager, proposal writer, entrepreneur, startup owner etc that produces intellectual outputs one of the first elements that you need to do is to create ideas that may have high potential of making a change in your organization, in your business environment or in society. There are specific techniques that I teach on how to create ideas and how to filter the ones that can make a difference. Very often I say to my students that our ideas are like our children that we think they are the most beautiful in the whole world and we expect everyone else to find them beautiful. But reality is not like that, and definitely at least others cannot see all our ideas as the most gorgeous. Therefore, we can apply the following conditions for first internally validating our idea and ensuring its potential high value:

  1. Our idea needs to support the mission of ourselves or of our organization. If it doesn’t support our mission, then we need to drop it. Of course, first we need to specify what is our mission and there are techniques for that
  2. Secondly, our idea needs to support our vision of ourselves or of our organization. While the mission refers to the present, the vision refers to the future and we need to specify where we wish to be and what we wish to do in the future individually or as an organization and our idea needs to support this. Again there are specific techniques for that
  3. Last but most importantly, we need to apply the following trick. We need to ask ourselves the question “If I win today the lottery that allows me to live for some years a comfortable life, will I still go ahead with this idea and invest the winning on implementing it”?

If we answer “NO” then we need to drop the idea and focus on something else now that it is still early without wasting any other resources and energy. But if our answer is a big “Yes” then we can go ahead with the rest of the steps in the I.C.R.E.A.T.E.S. System™ and a wonderful trip begins.

Those proposals and projects that do not follow the above simple three principles at their very initial stage, they are doomed to fail and waste in vain many resources and energy. On the other hand, winning proposals and successful projects that add real value in society have followed the above three principles even sometimes unconsiously, without realising it.

I hope this article serves you well in the area of planning and management of european funded projects. If you would like more training in this area, visit my seminars’ page (check Live Courses and eCourses).

So that’s it. I believe you learned something that  you will be able to apply it in your particular situation in European Funding, without the need to fail first for becoming successful!

An evaluation of Public Speakers University workshops run by Andy Harrington and Cheryl Chapman

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Some of you may have heard about Public Speakers University initiated by Andy Harrington that not only aims to transform you into a competent public speaker but also to a professional speaker that can increase significantly your income by working less.

Basically, Andy’s mottos are that anyone has a skill or knows something that there are other people across the world that are willing to pay to have it also. In addition, any person in any profession can win a lot of money with less effort if he or she instead of following a one-to-one approach to follow a one-to-many through public speaking..

Nikolaos Floratos at PSU in Ljubjana with friendsAndy started as salesman in insurances and after reaching really the bottom in his life, he made many changes (personal and professional ones ) and he has become now a millionaire by running workshops across the world on transforming individuals into professional public speakers.

I happened to hear for the first time about Andy from my friend Kristjan when I was in Slovenia/Ljubljana giving a three days workshop on how someone to write successful proposals for funding in Horizon 2020 the new Research and Innovation Programme.

I remember very well the dialogue we had:

  • Nikolaos, tomorrow we need to finish sharp at 17:00 (sometimes I get so passioned with my training that I forget the time) he says to me.
  • -Why? I replied back(I still don’t understand why some people wish to leave at the time that is scheduled when I train them)
  • I would like to attend a three hours presentation given here in Ljubljana tomorrow afternoon by Andy Harrington
  • Andy who?

Anyway, I had nothing to do that afternoon after my workshop and I decided to join him. During these three hours, basically Andy presented some fundamentals on public speaking, showed testimonials of people attending his three or four days workshops and encouraged us to pre-register in his full three days workshop organized next month in Ljubljana on public speaking   via their host in Slovenia, Panta-rei. The participation fee was quite high for my standards (something a little bit less than 1000 EUR) and I had to consider also my expenses for travelling from Athens and staying in Ljubljana during the workshop. I was hesitating ( I guess in the same manner when people hesitate to join my trainings) but a small voice inside myself (say it an instinct) made me to register.

The more the days were close to Andy’s event, the more excited I was getting Finally, the day before the workshop arrives that I take the plane from Athens in order to get to Ljubljana   via Belgrade. However, two very bad incidents happen to me just before the event and just after. More specifically, on the way to Ljubljana   from Belgrade there were so strong winds that the plane (really small one) couldn’t land. After many unsuccessful attempts and after the screams and vomits of many passengers (I will not include myself in this category but I can only say that during this experience I promised myself that if we survive, I will always switch my mobile phone to flight mode), the captain decided to fly further and manage (thank God) to land in Zagreb (the capital of Croatia).

It was around, midnight, I was exhausted, I was in another country than initially planned and next morning I was supposed to participate at Andy’s workshop. For one thing, I was sure that I would never go back again to any plane at least for the next three days (I had to return back to Athens, anyway). Eventually, a bus was arranged for all these desperate and frightened passengers including me to take us to Ljubljana. The lack of sleep and the extra travel burden did not affect me negatively at all since I was really really really happy travelling on the ground. (Can you imagine that from a guy that had done also sky-diving/tandem for his 40th birthday celebration?).

Anyway, next morning, I was there at Andy’s workshop and I will provide you more details shortly about this but let me inform you first about another unfortunate incident that happened to me towards the end of the whole Andy’s worshop. During the whole seminar, I wasn’t feeling that well and I guessed it was due to all this flight experience but especially the last day, I was shivering, with sore throat, exhausted and with high fever (40o Celcius) as I realized when I arrived home. They took me to the doctor that diagnosed that I had been infected with the H5N1 flue that kept me in bed for the next seven days

And now the interesting staff! In spite of those two quite unfortunate incidents, I can only say one thing.

Andy_Harrington and N_FloratosI was really fortunate attending Andy’s workshop that showed me a completely other way on how to exploit my skills, knowledge and my personal educational approach in writing successful grant application forms and transform larger audiences into successful proposal writers.

The workshop was run by Andy and his assistant Cheryl Chapman that she was very competent also. There were more than 150 participants but during these three full days, I felt that the training was delivered to me personally. They inducted me into the essentials for engaging large audiences, they showed me how to systemise my knowledge and training skills and also how to sell them and multiply significantly my income. Last but not least, I had the chance to meet very interesting people and I am really looking forward to my next time in Slovenia. I think I was the only foreigner (apart from Andy and his team) during the whole workshop duration at the Public Speakers University workshop but everything made me feel very comfortable.

I am really looking forward now to the one-to-one coaching sessions with Andy himself.

Thank you Andy, thank you Cheryl, thank you Kristjan, thank you Sara from Panta-rei.

Have you attended any events of Andy Harrington or of similar people? If so, I would love to hear from you.