How a Concert Pianist Struck a Chord in Corporate Training: The Birth of People Potential’s Skill-building Methodology

Being a concert pianist and a corporate trainer might seem like contrasting melodies. Yet, for Marianne Vincent, People Potential’s Director of Training Quality, these two seemingly disparate fields came together into a unique arrangement – not unlike the lines in a fugue by Bach – and became the bedrock of People Potential’s transformative skill-building methodology.

A Pianist’s Pivot to Corporate Training

The applause that followed Marianne’s final-year performance at the University of Melbourne’s Conservatorium would normally have signalled the promise of an illustrious musical journey. However, destiny had something else planned for her. When circumstances led her back to Malaysia, she found herself teaching music, marking the beginning of her expedition into the world of education.

Two key moments soon reframed Marianne’s life:

The first was being introduced to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and how we can change language and behavioural patterns to achieve specific goals in life.

The second was a personal struggle; a battle fought for her niece, born with profound brain injury. This journey led Marianne and her sister to discover unconventional teaching methods that stirred hope and created progress (however improbable it seemed at the time).


A Programme Designer Grows Up

Bearing these experiences in her heart, Marianne joined a training company. Here, she observed a stark contrast between the dynamic, immersive experience of NLP versus the conventional, often tedious corporate training programmes. From what she could see, there was little that challenged the training participants, and the programmes lacked lofty, ‘impossible’ goals for trainers and their learners to strive for. 

Inspired by her musical journey, Marianne envisioned a situation where every minute of a training programme resembled each musical note of a performance – essential for the learner’s journey. She sought to bring together seemingly unrelated fields of music and corporate training into a life-altering experience. 


Composing the Programme

With the keys of her piano replaced with the keys of a keyboard, Marianne began to design a different presentation skills programme. And with this programme, People Potential’s trainers guide learners through layers and multiple repetitions, much like rehearsing a musical piece.

She underscored the significance of a distinct, overall structure, an element as crucial to a training programme as it is to a musical composition. Every module then was carefully sequenced – like the notes in a musical piece – creating shape, movement and rhythm that engages learners from start to end.


The Transformative Power of Meticulous Design

Through thoughtful design, Marianne aimed to orchestrate a tangible transformation of learner skills. The programme, initially titled Effective Presentation Skills, soon evolved into Presentations Alive!™. A title that depicts the transformative experiences of its participants, where they, together with their presentations – come alive as they build their skills. It is not uncommon to have the learners’ managers drop in at the end of the class and say: “These are not the same people.”

Marianne’s unique experiences became the foundation of People Potential’s skill-building methodology, striking a chord with learners and L&D professionals alike and proving that with good training design, much more can be achieved in a short span of time. And demonstrating that training participants can quickly learn skills that can alter their lives and their careers for the better.

And once we knew how to design bold, beautiful and useful training programmes, it remained important to keep striving because robust design, with user-friendly tools, in the hands of specialist trainers, can keep making the impossible possible.


Everything is Design – The ebook

This article was inspired by Marianne’s latest ebook called Everything is Design. Take a peek into the creative whirlwind that is instructional design at People Potential and take back lessons that will help you to grow your people. Download by clicking here.


We Can Design Your Next Training Programme with Behaviour Change 

To learn more about our instructional design services, contact Mints at [email protected]. She’ll organise for you to speak to the instructional design team about your needs in training design and workplace behaviour change.