I am enjoying my first-ever trip to Scandinavia, having been asked by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Norway to give a one-day workshop on presentation skills. It stays light until past 11p in Oslo this time of year — which is just as well, seeing how it felt like I began the workshop at midnight, given the nine-hour time difference from California.

It was comforting to have found common ground with my northern European counterparts. When I began my introduction — remarking on how most people learn PowerPoint in about 30 minutes and then declare themselves proficient — many heads nodded with recognition, amid comments like "That's me" and "I know what you mean."

Too much text…slides doubling as printouts…templates too rigid…last-minute changes…misappropriation of animation — I felt right at home addressing the same issues that my clients in the States wrestle with. Having said that, many of the slides that I saw showed very good instincts for blending words and imagery. Those tasked with creating content for the government clearly feel as if there is more to life than title, bullet, bullet, bullet. If I'm being honest, this sense was more evolved here in Oslo than back home.

Then, a few moments later, I would enounter a slide with four full paragraphs and underlines and red type for emphasis and I would be snapped back to reality. <g>

All in all, I am enjoying my visit here very much — the people are gracious, accommodating, and full of life and spirit. They seem to know as much about American politics as we do, regularly wanting to engage in discussion about President Obama. And the seafood here is extraordinary.

I hope I'll be invited back…

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