Depuis que j’enseigne, je me triture toujours la tête en me demandant ce qui marche le mieux pour que les étudiants apprennent le mieux et le plus efficacement possible. Et je suis arrivé à une conclusion: les étudiants apprennent mieux en se marrant et en prenant du plaisir.

Bon d’accord c’est une généralité mais voyons plus en détails…

A Reims, j’ai mis en place l’autre jour un concours de blagues en place pendant une des pauses en cours. Je lève les yeux vers l’assistance et après avoir épuisé quelques blagues, je demande l’aide du public en lançant un: “Qui a une blague à raconter?”

Les étudiants me regardent tous avec les yeux écarquillés comme si je venais de mars…et puis d’un coup, une étudiante lève la main et dit: “j’en ai une”

Moi: Allez-y, on vous écoute

Elle: C’est quoi la différence entre la lettre Q et un homme?

La salle: euh….

Elle: C’est la même chose, ce sont deux zéros avec un petit bout

(je ne raconterai pas celle du pingouin avec une malformation congénitale…elle se reconnaitra:)

Il y a plusieurs intérêts dans l’exercice…

1) introduire la notion de plaisir et de fun dans le cours pour stimuler l’apprentissage.

2) garder l’attention des étudiants malgré les multiples sollicitations

3) leur redonner la parole et faire du cours un échange plutôt qu’un actif (prof) passif (étudiant)

Si vous voyez d’autres raisons…je suis ouvert…

J’ai d’ailleurs aussi mis en place un boitier de vote pour les étudiants pour répondre à des questions et tester leur connaissance pendant ce même cours.

Mais évidemment tout ceci ne doit pas se faire au détriment du travail de fond qui est (j’espère fait) et cela se retrouve dans les évaluations faites avec certains étudiants qui ont compris et intégré les messages les plus importants.

Réintroduire la notion de plaisir dans une salle d’enseignement avec une lettre Q, c’est un peu osé mais si cela marche pourquoi pas.

Vous en pensez quoi, vous?


When writing this post, I was thinking to myself that the word “values” is really old fashioned…”value” seems very serious or boring but in fact it is not!
When we founded Link Humans with Jorgen, we wrote down some key values for us, simple, authentic, credible…
Values that reflect who we are deeply, what we care for….

Values for us
And everytime we deal with something I try to think about these values. When we did the website, is this website aligned with our values (simple, authentic, credible…) ?
When I am with clients and I work on projects, I always have these values in mind.
It may sound ridiculous but it is very important to me.
Link Humans has an anchor: its values!
And it is also an anchor for me….I can put in front of these values everything.
I already said No to some clients because it did not fit into our values.

Years ago…
Values are my anchor, my reference, the point where everything starts.
A couple of years back, I used to think that values were pointless…it was made for a bunch of philosophers or charity people just to show off…and by growing and getting more mature, I realized that in fact values count.
Values are not a set of things written in the stone but something deep you relate to, and it is more the way you are going to interpret them.

But it helps you to remain true to yourself, and so to attract the people/clients aligned with that!

Link Humans is growing (up) now…we hired an employee and the question is how not to forget about our values while growing?!
And you, what are your values, what is important to you?

Is the word “passion” overused?

Sometimes I realize that people don’t even know anymore what it is.

And when you are being asked: What is your passion? It is a daunting question.

I read this article written by Dan Pink

“I’m seeing quite an increase in the number of people turning a hobby into a business,” she says. “You start innocently by making cakes or taking photos in your spare time. Friends and family admire the results and recommend you to others. Before you know it, you are your own boss and making a living from doing what you do.”

This is how people find their way. Instead of endless self-examination and the search for some inscrutable holy emotional grail, they act.”

Have you found your way like that?

In my case, I plan to go around the world…not very original…but I plan to do it through the food and local dishes. I plan to call it the “world in 80 dishes” in reference to Jules Verne’s book “Around the world in 80 days”.

Food is my “passion” or something I really love. I think that it is a great way to reach out to people and find a common ground.

But I don’t think that I will turn my interest into a proper job, I don’t want to be a professional cook or open a restaurant, I just enjoy sharing and eating food with people.

What do you do with your passion? Have you managed to turn it into a job or do you keep it aside?

But in a more simple way,

What are you great at? What comes easily to you?

What would you do – or are you already doing – for free?

I have been taking pronunciation lessons since the end of January.

I have been also giving conferences in English about Social Media, Social Networks…and picthing Link Humans to different businesses…But I still think I should improve my oral English.

Now I landed lectures at Regent’s college and London Business School…So pressure is on.

But my problem is that everyone was giving me excellent feedback: “oh your French accent is great” “it was a great conference” “your French accent actually makes you even more knowledgeable” and so on…

So I could not be bothered to improve my Oral English until one day, someone told me that to lecture at a high level business school or deliver webinars, I would have to improve my accent and up my game to appear more authoritative.

Here am I, pronoucing my “O”s in a different way, trying to say the “the” not in a French way, and so on…Now I am training my breathing and singing Mongolian songs to force my mouth to say the “O”s in a very English way.

But actually I love it…

My coach told me that I will never lose my Frenchness but if I improve, it will impact all my content.

Feedback is essential to improve, and sometimes we should not be afraid to say what we really think instead of putting things aside and saying a simple “it was interesting”.

This simple feedback I received forces me to go after a better way of communicating and improving my communication skills…

Feedbacks are our only way to improve and get better at what we do. So thank you for the Feedback you gave me Clare, it was a huge gift.

I luve zi English feedback :)

By the way, I will be running my 15th Opened Linkedin Workshop tomorrow, see you there!

Outplacement is the service which consists in helping people to achieve a career transition (looking for a job or changing of job).

I must say that this title is obviously provocative…but at the same time, the industry is facing new challenges that really question its foundations.

Is Outplacement working for career changers?

Outplacement has been questioned for a long time about its efficiency in helping true career changers.

Herminia Ibarra explains in “Working Identity” that career changers change in a lengthy process where they meet with people on their target market, where they re craft their personal story…And it is not by doing a career assessment that you achieve a proper career change. It is more a trial and error process where you constantly try out your ideas.

The outplacement system is not really suited for career changers!

Traditional model:

Assessment (skills, personality…) → Career Plan → Implementation

Herminia Ibarra Model:

Test (networking, meetings, outside work…) → correction → Test

In a career change, you don’t know what is going to come up, you test all the time, and the model (assessment→Plan→Implementation) is not useful.

In other words, you learn by doing and then thinking not the other way around.

Outplacement does not seem to be that effective for true career changers, and time and experience seem to prove it.

An outplacement can last 6 month till 1 year, and a career change takes a minimum of  1 to 3 years…

What about people who look for a (normal) job?

In outplacement, these are the easiest cases. The person who is a marketing manager in the pharmaceutical industry looks for a job of marketing manager in the pharmaceutical industry.

Same job working for the competitor, the case that recruiters prefer.

In that case, outplacement helps you to reduce your search time by enhancing your efficiency…your CV is reviewed, you are coached properly. But even that is questioned today as companies paying for outplacement are paying less and less for that service.

In France and UK the prices for outplacement services have suffered, now in the UK, I have heard people offering outplacement service with a do-it-all 1 day workshop (which does nothing probably). So you review your CV in 1 day with other candidates who probably have more problems than you do have.

So even the case of the “easy” outplacement is put in danger…with the level of service provided.

So what does that mean for outplacement firms? Is it the end of the road?

I would suggest first to change the name…outplacement is a name which is totally unknown, it does not say anything.

But the obvious move is to go up in the chain of value and work with companies on their talent management issues instead of delivering pure outplacement services. All the big outplacement firms have done this move but their lack of reputation and insufficient track record in comparison to big consultancies (Accenture, Cap Gemini, PwC, and so on) are holding them back.

And for Career changers or people in career transition…

Yes outplacement can help you but you need to adapt your expectations to the market situation.

Outplacement professionals are not going to find you a job and due to the market conditions and the fees they receive, it is less and less likely.

In that case, Networking (and social networking as a tool) is everything…efficient outplacement consultancies should only focus on developing networking skills for their clients…all the personality tests can be useful but at the end of the day, we learn much more about ourselves by doing.

A last word

Outplacement services need to evolve towards providing career services during the whole career cycle  not only when people lose their job, so companies must understand that happy employees are employees who are highly employable.

So they should not only create processes to manage their talent but they should create in-placement structures to help people move across departments or even companies.

Now is In-placement is going to replace Out-placement? Not sure about that, but developing Personal Branding and Networking for employees will be more and more important as competition is getting tougher.

And outplacement consultancies should ride the wave…

Do you work to pay your bills?

This very clever cartoon presents us with an interesting issue…if we have food, clothes, health care…what is the point of working?

Dan Pink and Malcolm Gladwell would say: to create meaning.

Finding meaning and purpose is one of the most powerful way of being happy at work.

Gladwell identified 3 caracteristics of a meaningful job:

1) clear relationship between reward and effort

2) complex work

3) autonomous

Is your job ticking all these boxes? Do you have a meaningful job?

Are you like this person asking “What do we need jobs for?”

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Feedback is everything.

With a feedback, you can improve yourself, you can get better at something much quicker than if you would do it alone.

With a feedback, you can also understand how people see you, and how you come across, or even what kind of skills/qualities people think you have.

For example, to prepare for interviews, getting feedbacks while doing mock interviews is priceless.

And after the interview, getting feedback from the recruiter is another way to improve.

Feedback not only helps you to correct your mistakes but also to reinforce your strengths.

A proper feedback always starts with the positive things “you did that well and gave a precise example…” and finish with the points that could be improved.

How can you find a job, get better at something or progress in a specific matter, if you don’t get feedbacks!

Think about feedback all the time.

The rules for feedbacks:

1) Ask for Feedbacks

2) Start with the positive points and finish with the parts that need to be improved

3) Be precise when you give a feedback and not general or vague (ie “you did explain well the situation and it was clear and loud”)

Feedback is a gift…if you look for a job, ask for feedbacks, if you are in a company, ask for feedback.

We are always afraid of feedbacks because feedbacks confront us and we never know what to expect. But there are no other way to progress and know if we are in the right direction.

givingGiving information for free helps to show your skills and knowledge.

Why do you think I am doing this every week?!

Do you know that the word Sell comes from the old saxon Sellan which means giving!

To find a job, the more you give, the more you receive. I am not saying that you should give with the only goal of receiving, I am only saying that giving is the best job search strategy.

You apply your skills, you show that you are still of some use, you help people which boosts your confidence and obviously boosts also your job search.

Giving your time to organise events or run associations.

Giving away your knowledge to younger people or even giving away your knowledge on a website/blog.

Giving time and help to people who are looking for a job.

Giving documents/advice to people on communities/groups.

Giving support and sympathy

And you will see, people will come to you, jobs will find you, opportunities will knock at your door. And even better, giving nurtures your confidence and your sense of purpose, so you should perform better at interviews and attract people during events.

For example, I gave a conference for free the other day to students in the north of Paris…I did not get paid for that but the students interviewed me after the conference and created a video they put on Laurent Brouat conférence 2.0. What I got from them is worth thousand times what I gave them! (And a lot of people they contacted asked for money but I think these guys did not get it!).

But it is not a short-term solution but a sustainable way of doing things. Have you ever noticed that the most successful people on internet are the most generous ones?

thierry henry handballI am French so I am a fanatic supporter of France but what happened on Wednesday can teach us a lot.

Yes Thierry Henry made a handball, and yes it was on purpose.

On the short term, France fans are happy because their team is going to be in the world cup. French players, French broadcasters…almost everybody in France says: “sorry for that but at least we qualified”.

I think the handball of Thierry Henry is a short term solution. On one hand it pleases everybody and qualifies a big football nation.

But on the long run it harms the reputation of Thierry Henry, of France and the benefits of qualifications will be forgotten in 2/3 years, but the hand of Henry won’t be.

So what it teaches us? Taking the shortest route to success is not the best option and even the worst on the long run:

yes you chose to start this high-paid job but on the long run, you won’t develop the skills to work in your dreamed job.

You want to get ASAP a job, but it is completely the opposite to your goal or your long term career plan, but you opt for this route.

You decided to write this article highly controversial, it will get instant fame and recognition but what about the long term?

The question is always long term vs short term.

When I go shopping to buy food, I always eat beforehand. Why?

Because if I eat before shopping, I will buy only things that I need to feed my family, and if I don’t eat before, I will buy anything like sweets/cakes to fulfill my hunger, and I will buy less long term things but more short term food.

So I do understand that when you are looking for a job, you can be desperate, but be careful about this effect of choosing the short term against the long term. Is this job really for you? Am I getting away from my goal?

Should I take any job?

Sometimes it seems a good short term solution but what about the long term??

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Failure happens to everybody.

The other day, the feedbacks for one of the workshop I was running were not so great…It does happen sometimes even if it is rare.

I felt it as a failure, a failure to deliver my workshop, a failure to really give that information, that little hope, that little extra to my clients.

Failure is a learning process. I asked for a feedback to each participant to understand why…

Failure in the process of looking for a job is the same…you will get nos or fail at an interview.

Your calls won’t be answered, people wont call you back, you will fail at networking events, people ignore your emails…

It does not matter, it happens to everybody. What matters is what you will do with that failure.

When you fail:

1) Don’t take it personally, it is not about you, everybody fails (ie I used to interview 5 people for 1 position which means, 4 nos for 1 yes!)

2) Ask for feedback all the time to understand precisely where you failed

3) Write down the points you need to improve or you feel you need to improve

4) Write down what you did well, because you need to feel confident and remember your strengths to be able to address your failures

5) Learn from your failure and train even more, train for your interviews, learn the unusual questions, improve your CV where it needs to be. Train, train and ask for feedbacks

At the end of the day, I always learnt much more from failures than from successes, and made a lot of progress accordingly.

Failing will happen to everyone, not learning from you failure is what will make the difference. And it will be another good point to show in an interview, another achievement to mention, another story to tell.

Failing from learning IS the real failure…as long as you will try and will learn from it.

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the_power_of_booksDo you want to win books about Career management ?

Do you want to write an article about Career/job and be read by hundreds of readers?

Do you want your contribution to be recognized and published on this blog?

John Lees, in association with this blog will give away two of his career titles including How To Get A Job You’ll Love for the best contribution.

Write an article about career or job issues! Whatever you want to write about your job search, your experience as a career coach or share some useful tips, or simply rant over something… I am quite opened to any article as long as it brings something new and refreshing!

You need to send your contributions before the 8th of november to:

We will review the best contributions with John and let you know.

I look forward to reading some very good contributions, as I have had many good comments on this blog!

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John Lees1

You will be surprised to learn that John does not believe in personal branding and that he gives creative tips on how to achieve a career change. For him a CV is really useful as an aide memoir and employers oversell positions…

Share your comments and other ideas.

John, I am a big fan of your books and the way you put things across and I have been reading your books (“How to get a job you’ll Love”, “Take control of your Career”) and listening to your talks.

To me, you are a creative and thoughtful leader in the area of career management. But on this blog, I always try to challenge the “normal” and the old ideas, so I will do an alternative interview with you…asking unusual questions.

If you want to know more about John, John Lees Associate.

Don’t you think that this blog could have been written by you?

I guess so.  I like the “push” effect of challenging people to think about a job they will love doing – although many are cynical about the whole idea there seems to be an underlying urge in a large part of the population to at least find out what it would mean to have a job they enjoy.

Lately you seem to be more dedicated to writing books and training career coaches, do you still give career coaching?

Absolutely – it’s an important part of my work, and I like to work with a wide range of people.  Today I had a career coaching session via Skype with someone in Mexico City.

Do you integrate social media in your career coaching or push your clients to use it?

I am a convert to Linked-In, and now use it extensively.  It’s a great way of reconnecting with people you worked with in the past, and a good reminder that we all need to work just a little harder at keeping our networks active.

If you were out of job, what would you do first?

Get depressed.  I’m not kidding – it’s important to remember the real emotional impact of joblessness.  What I would do immediately afterwards is to find one or two trusted colleagues who can remind me of what I am good at, so I don’t talk myself into feeling unemployable.  I would work with a coach of some kind to keep me active and to make sure that I get out and talk to people.  Like most of the clients I work with, I’d be tempted to try to solve my problems by using the internet rather than through face to face conversations.

You are a real creative person, what is the most creative thing you ever heard of in the career management (ie New ways of finding a job for example…)?

People are always looking for the hidden secret or technique (The Da Vinci code has a lot to answer for!) but the reality is that we need reinvent the process everyday – doing exactly the same thing that companies are doing with their products and services.

When reading your book, I must say that you are quite provocative (in a smoother way than me). What is your goal doing that?

Provocation is at the heart of good career coaching because it gets people to think differently about themselves and the world.  The most important step is the thinking part, and the best way to activate that is to be asked penetrating questions.

What is the most important thing to focus on when you want to change of career?

How someone is going to make the decision about career change, and how energized someone is to actually take the first step.  If I am not clear about these 2 elements, it’s unlikely that someone is actually going to break out of thinking in circles.

Do you believe that the CV is still a relevant tool to look for a job?

A CV is a weak job search tool (there are just too many out there) but with a well-focused cover letter can sometimes get you through the door.  It’s a good aide memoir after a conversation, which is the best way to use it.

Which myths of career/job search would you like to debunk?

There are so many – most of us are still trying to navigate the world of work using 1950s career thinking.  One of the great myths at the moment is that jobs are not out there.  The reality is that they are being filled by increasingly unconventional methods.

Do you think that “Personal branding” will be the next thing in career management?

No.  We’ve been there before.  I think the next big stage will be some kind of step change in the way we manage communication and networking – FaceBook plus.

With the current market, a lot of people call themselves “career coach”. What do you think about this trend?

It’s a frustrating trend.  The problem is that life coaches don’t really understand the marketplace, and former recruitment specialists don’t understand candidate mindset.  The real test of a good career coach is how well they can help “stuck” clients, and those who have no idea of what they want to do for a living.

Career and job matter (the sub-title of this blog) for you?

No question.  We spend so much time at work compared to previous generations, which means that choosing what you do for a living really has become one of the most important life choices you’ll ever make.

A last word?

If you only ask one question about a new role, ask the question “what will I be doing most of the time?”.  Employers oversell jobs, and candidates don’t seem to have the tools to find out what a role is really about until they are in the job.

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popular 2

Here is a summary of the most popular articles published on this blog, some of them were published on other blogs or websites, but at the end of the day, the articles you liked most were the most controversial ones!

(and thank you to all the readers, my readership has been constantly raising for the past few months with many comments and people talking about the ideas of this blog)

My goal and purpose: to debunk the old myths about job search and to try to make people think.

And it seems to be working…have a look at the articles and the related comments, it is quite surprising! It is time to challenge the status quo and the “truths” about career and job search:

  1. I said that CVs were boring and ineffective
  2. I explained why recruiters were not creative
  3. I insisted on the fact you should stop sending CVs right now!!
  4. I invented a new word, WEBLOAFING, to explain that a lot of job seekers were spending too much time in front of their computer
  5. I finally developped the idea that “people don’t care about you” and gave you a precise example
  6. I even gave a live example of a boring CV

Job search and career transition are changing, recruiters are not here to help you but to do their job even if they receive 200 cvs per application.

You want to change of job? Talk to someone who already did it in the same industry, look around you.

I am in the process of designing new ideas and articles attacking other myths of the job and career, but you will see it in the forthcoming months (job boards, social media, fake experts…).

I would like to thank a couple of people for their help and ideas: Steve Preston, John Lees, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Herve Bommelaer, Luc Becquaert, Debbie Smith, Corinne Mills (for her brilliant book about CV writing).

Thank you also to Duncan Elliott, Dorothy Dalton, Bob Corlett, Fabrice Landois, Kathy Simmons, Antoine Ducher and others for spreading my ideas and all the nice emails from people asking me to keep on writing (even from people asking me to stop writing).

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watching-tv 1

So you think that you spend enough time planning your career or preparing yourself (updating, promoting your skills, your reputation, reading, networking…)

You often do this when you are out of job. But the rest of the time…nothing.

Career management is a reactive activity not a proactive one.

How much time did you spend on preparing your last holidays?

How much time did you spend on thinking about your new car?

How much time did you spend on watching TV?

In a post, I explained how I felt surprised that people spend much more time in activities such as these ones whereas they don’t even think about their career, they only react to a job loss or a difficult situation.

There is no anticipation.

It is only when they are kicked out from their job that they start moving…by sending CVs and waiting.

“I lost my job now I need to send my CV and apply for positions”

That is the kind of career plan I hear on a regular basis.

The time you spend for an activity so important is so ridiculous that I cant’ understand why.

Let’s go one step further.

Let’s put all this in figures in a spreadsheet;


Time spent

Watching TV 90-120 hours/month*
Career Management (conferences, linkedin, speaking, writing, networking…) 8h/month*

*Study from Nielsen Media Research, 2006

*For career management, I have put arbitrary values, 2 hours a week is not really the case for most of the people. But I think it is a minimum one should grant to this highly important activity.

So the ratio is one per 10 in terms of time…If you could turn off your TV and give more time to your career by only 25%, it would represent 25 hours more for your career management per month!! And what is more important? (I must say that sometimes TV is a good relaxing tool when you are really tired)

And you, how much time per week do you spend managing your career?

0, 2 hours or even more?

Leave a comment, I am quite interested to know (not sure reading this blog counts as a career management activity!!) how much time approximately you spend on managing your career.

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A couple of years ago, I was working in a recruitment fair…At the time, I was recruiting for positions in Australia and Middle East.

During the fair I received a candidate…he was brilliant, he was coming across well, nice suit and good speaking skills, a nice portfolio, quite convincing as well.

The only problem was that he was working as a kitchen designer and wanted to work in Australia as an Architect.

SO he thought that by putting a nice suit, preparing a brilliant portfolio would be enough to impress the recruiter.

But he was totally wrong, as a recruiter, I could not sell a kitchen designer to work as an architect on huge projects in Australia.

He chose the wrong strategy for his career change, he put the ladder on the wrong wall thinking it would be enough to get the job.

He was probably one the best kitchen designer I know, but sending CVs and coming to fairs would not solve the problem…recruiters wouldn’t take his CV for the job.

Sometimes you may be the best in your industry but if you want to change of career, use the right strategy because employers and recruiters are not here to take risks.

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