How I got started with James at Portal
As the business owner of a technology company based in Spain, most of the clients I work with are local, however, with a growing international partner network, I found myself in a situation where I needed to develop my communication skills in English.
In solving this problem, it would be imperative that I didn’t fall into the same trap as so many other professionals have, of enrolling in one of the many generic English courses provided by local Academies and official language schools. As a business owner, one of my biggest challenges is time. And when I invest my time, I expect results. With this in mind, I needed to find something different! A training company that not only understood the technology sector but who could also tailor their training to my specific needs and busy schedule. And most importantly, who could deliver results.
When I discussed this challenge with my business partner, he told me he could introduce me to James at PORTAL, a consultant his brother-in-law had been working with for the past few years. Like myself, his brother-in-law had specific requirements and had been very happy with the results achieved.
What my training sessions are like
I remember going into that first call with James, and stressing the importance of needing to improve my communication skills. What I didn’t realise and what James explained, was that we could achieve much more with the training by using English as a framework, to work on my high priority business goals, like public speaking, productivity, leadership and technical skills.
This structure delivered two key benefits for me:
The training I’ve done with PORTAL has been completely different to what I’ve done in the past as it’s divided into two parts. Part one: is an open conversation around current affairs or topics of interest from the past week. Part two: is focussed on my goal.
I set quarterly goals, and James guides me throughout the structured process with a variety of resources comprising of videos, articles and books. During each training session, we review and discuss my assignments which allows me to internalize key concepts. What I love about this learning style is just how fluid it is and how it adapts to whatever my objective is. Before the training session ends, we review my weekly pre-recorded video presentation on the progress I’ve made during the past week in obtaining my goal. The benefit of this is that I learn to analyse my public speaking skills and identify where I make common mistakes. Seeing myself on video, making the same mistakes each week is frustrating, but the rate of improvement is phenomenal.
The important thing to highlight is that my communication skills in English have improved but what’s equally important is that the process hasn’t been boring. I get to work on subject-matter which I find important and interesting, instead of just following a low-value standardised syllabus.
How the training has helped me
One important success for me with this training was when I got to work on improving my communication skills for speaking on camera. I picked up loads of tips on posture, breathing, tone of voice, etc. that have helped me immensely in creating my video courses. I doubt I would have ever had the time to learn these tips if I had done another form of training.Where James really stands out, is with the level of support he provides to his clients, in helping them achieve their goals. As an example, I gave a talk, earlier this year, at an international event in Madrid. James coordinated his business trip to coincide with the date of the event. This was so he could attend the conference and analyze how I communicated in English environments vs Spanish environments. After the conference, I met up with James, and he said: “You’re like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, It’s like watching two completely different people speak”. This discovery was such an eye-opener for me and played a pivotal part in my development and in helping reach my goal.