Learn About Our Training

For over 20 years, Commanding Presence has been delivering the most advanced communication skills, public speaking skills, and presentation training currently available in Canada and the U.S. Commanding Presence Communication Workshop Photo

Our training focuses on the art and science of oral communication and excelling at high-stakes presentations. We have developed highly effective techniques for presenting complex thoughts and ideas for formal presentations, as well as “thinking of your feet”. We also address managing the fear of speaking and creating eloquent speeches and presentations designed to be heard and remembered.

Our training is designed specifically with the communication challenges and issues of executives, leaders, lawyers, accountants, and engineers in mind.

Routinely, our clients have achieved substantial and permanent improvements in their speaking ability, self-confidence, and personal charisma.

​Our training is available for corporate groups in half-day, one-day, and two-day formats. More info.

​We also provide a monthly, Two-Day Workshop available for public enrollment of individuals or small groups, held in downtown Toronto. More info.

We also provide individual coaching for specific client engagements, such as high-stakes presentations.

Our Expert Communication Skills Coaches

Peter Hiddema is Commanding Presence’s Communication Skills Coach. He is an expert trainer, coach and speaker on business communication skills & presentations skills, negotiation, collaboration, and conflict management and founder of Common Outlook Consulting Inc. Peter Hiddema Communication Coach

Building on his association with the Harvard Negotiation Project, the renowned research center dedicated to improving the practice of negotiation and conflict management, Peter has taught, consulted, and spoken about the principles of the methodology in numerous countries on four continents since 1996.

Peter has worked in a wide variety of settings. In the private sector, he has trained and advised executives of global Fortune 500 companies on high-stakes negotiations and relationships and has also assisted small local organizations. In the public sector he has worked with the World Health Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, international non-governmental organizations, as well as universities, national and regional government bodies and indigenous peoples. In addition, Peter has been a Visiting Professor in France and Singapore at INSEAD – The Business School for the World, and has lectured at Queen’s University (Canada and the UK), and Harvard University, among others.

Peter began his career in finance and banking. He worked with the Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, Canada and London, England. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McMaster University, an MBA from Queen’s University (Canada), and an Executive Master’s Degree in Consulting and Coaching for Change from INSEAD (France). Peter speaks 4 languages, has lived in 6 countries on 4 continents, and has traveled through over 50 countries. He is curious by nature and considers himself a perpetual student in the school of life.

Along with becoming Commanding Presence’s US Workshop Coach, Jim Tull is a Partner with CMPartners and a globally recognized leader in the field of interdependence management. Mr. Tull has advised and trained top-level government officials and business leaders in over 75 countries.  Jim Tull Workshop Coach

In his private sector practice, Mr. Tull advises and trains leaders and teams responsible for mission-critical business transformations. With 20 years of professional experience designing and delivering highly tailored workshops, Mr. Tull has worked across a diverse range of international business sectors, including energy, technology, finance, pharmaceuticals, professional sports and food production/distribution. Mr. Tull partners with, advises and coaches top-level executives and their teams to help implement strategies for communication, effective consensus building, high-impact mergers and sustainable dispute resolution.

In his public sector practice, he has provided leadership-level support on national conflicts in Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and the Middle East. In addition, Mr. Tull has advised and developed trainings for a wide range of public sector groups, such as OXFAM, Mercy Corps International, Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, El Salvador’s Ministry of Education, and many of Canada’s First Nations Communities.
Mr. Tull’s academic teaching experience includes leading courses at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Education, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Brandeis University and Cambridge College.

Michael Ripley has spent most of his adult life on the border between the corporate and performing arts worlds. An able instructor in colleges and universities, a successful playwright, an actor with great reviews in theatres, and a veteran in marketing and sales, he possesses an eclectic array of skills that enables him to bring a wealth of real-world know-how and a fresh, highly valuable perspective to our Commanding Presence coach team.Michael Ripley
As the instructor, Michael taught Canadian Performance History at Ryerson/Toronto Metropolitan University. He was a 2-time director of the Blyth Festival Young Company. He also coached on improvisation for Arts Express. He was the founder of Theatre Rattlebag, and TalentedMR – a design studio that offered design solutions for the arts. Michael’s understanding of the “language differences” and requirements on both sides of the tech/artistic aisle has garnered him loyal clients like The Canada Council for the Arts, Theatre Direct, Dance Collection Danse, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Healthy Dancer Canada, The Canadian Dance Assembly, Eldritch Theatre, The Festival Players, and Neighbourhood Danceworks.

As the playwright, Michael had three of his plays selected by festivals. His play 9 Types of Ice has been performed around the world and adapted into a film presented at the prestigious Montreal World Film Festival. As the actor, he was awarded “Best in Fringe” for performance in Ted Atherton’s Shareware.

A veteran in sales and marketing, Michael is the head of Marketing and Sales for Dance Collection Danse. The organizations he worked with in the past included Pipeline Communications, Home Depot, Samsung, MacDonalds, Oxford Properties and Labatt’s Brewery. 

Michael is the son of Commanding Presence founder, the late John Plank.

Videos About Our Communication Skills Training

Watch short messages about our executive training from our late Founder John Plank and our Head Coach, Peter Hiddema.

What to Expect from this Advanced Communication Skills Course in Toronto

The benefits and learning objectives of our communication skills training

Communication Skills & Presentation Skills Training Formats Available

About our Two-Day Communication Skills Training

Our Communication Skills & Presentation Skills Clients

Here is a selection of our recent clients across North America that we have experienced and enjoyed our Commanding Presence training.

Our Recent Training Clients


  • AstraZeneca LP
  • Bell Mobility
  • BMO
  • Boston Pizza
  • Cadbury Schweppes
  • Canadian Tire
  • Canon
  • Casino Niagara
  • CBC
  • Enbridge Energy
  • Giant Tiger
  • Four Season Hotels
  • Honda Canada Inc.
  • IAMGOLD Corporation
  • Imperial Oil Limited
  • Johnson & Johnson Inc.
  • Loblaw Companies Inc.
  • McCain Foods
  • Pepsi Bottling Company
  • RioCan
  • Rogers Communications
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Walmart

Accounting Firms​​

  • BDO Dunwoody LLP
  • Birch Hill Equity Partners
  • Brownlow & Associates
  • Deloite Consulting
  • Durward Jones Barkwell LLP
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Grant Thornton LLP
  • MD Management LTD.
  • Merrill Lynch
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Welch & Company LLP

Law Firms

  • Blakes LLP
  • DLA Piper LLP
  • Edge International
  • Goodmans LLP
  • Hughes Amys LLP
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
  • Lang Michener LLP
  • Lenczner Slaght LLP
  • MBC Legal
  • Miller Thomson LLP
  • Oatley, Vigmond LLP
  • Ricketts, Harris LLP
  • Robins, Appleby and Taub LLP
  • Torys LLP
  • WeirFoulds LLP
  • Willms & Shier LLP
  • White & Case LLP

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Arthritis Society
  • Canada Post
  • Global Knowledge
  • Farm Credit Canada
  • Federal Economic Development Agency
  • Metrolinx
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • The Salvation Army


  • Ministry of Children’s Services
  • Ministry of Community & Social Services
  • Ministry of Consumer & Business Services
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal


  • City of Barrie
  • City of Kitchener
  • City of Toronto
  • Halton Region
  • Peel Region
  • York Region

Our Communication Skills & Presentation Skills Testimonials

“I recommend this program for any advocate who cares about the quality of his or her presentations in court.”
Roger Oatley
Oatley Vigmond LLP

I would highly recommend the Commanding Presence workshop. Peter Hiddema is an amazing trainer/presenter. He is truly charismatic. His presentation style is easy to listen to and learn from and he offered a great mix of Powerpoint, video and practical elements throughout the Two-Day Workshop. It was an absolute delight to have such a rewarding experience.”
Jennifer Wall
Senior Manager FP&A

“The program was terrific. One of the most useful workshops I have ever attended.”
Jeff Galway
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

“When it comes to public speaking and coaching for communications in general, you are always in the back of my mind. The workshop I had with you made a lasting impression.”
Julie Corry
Hutchins Caron & Associates

“I recommend your course to people and its probably the most directly useful learning I’ve ever received.”
Philip W. Augustine
Augustine Bater Polowin

“I had a great time at the workshop and I can’t thank you enough for your help.”
Robyn C. Carlson
Graham, Wilson & Green

“I would recommend this course to people at all levels of speaking experience. I particularly appreciate John Plank’s ability to identify quickly the avenues for improvement.”
Andrew J. Roman
Miller Thomson LLP

“I felt this course was one of the most useful I have been on. Thank you very much for providing such an excellent course and an extremely useful follow-up report.”
Colin M. Clark
Pagan Osborne

“I really enjoyed the workshop and Peter was a fantastic trainer.”
Douglas Butt
Canada Post

“You taught me the invaluable lesson of how to communicate. I look forward to learning from you further to improve my skills of Commanding Presence. Thank you so much!”
Naoko Komura
Wikimedia Foundation Inc.

“I enjoyed and benefitted from the Commanding Presence Seminar. This was one of the best seminars that I’ve ever taken, and I will seek to use the learning on a regular basis. Thanks again.”
Frank Lock

“Thank you for being good at what you do. I believe there will be significant and lasting personal benefits from attending Commanding Presence. The 3 benefits I expect are respect, persuasion, and career advancement.”
Gary Baksi
Bell Canada

“It was a real pleasure, John. I haven’t taken that much from a workshop in a long time! Thanks again – you’ve really helped us raise the bar at Wikimedia. Our people are well-equipped and fortunately, they’ll never be the same!”
Jay Walsh
Wikimedia Foundation Inc.

“John Plank has been able to deliver an incredible improvement in the presentations of our senior management team — and improve their comfort level. I’d offer an unconditional recommendation in support of this program.” Stephen Johnson Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust “You help each of us change our sense of possibilities.”
Brian M. Leck
Toronto Transit Commission

“You have changed the way I look at presentations. I feel I am truly communicating and not just presenting. It’s like I have a secret weapon I can use throughout my career.”
Igor Levental
Homestake Mining Company

“Commanding Presence has helped me to connect with my audience in a naturally authentic manner. Being able to establish rapport and keep it has made my communications much more effective.”
John Lindsay
Philips CDS

“The follow-up you have done has truly astonished me. Unlike other courses I have attended, many excellent, I have not experienced the ongoing value that yours delivers. The quarterly newsletters, the follow-up DVD, the course workbook (that sits within arms reach in my office) all contribute to a feeling that I’m part of an exclusive club which strives to keep the skills I learned at Commanding Presence… present.”
Chris Irwin
Ministry of Government Services

“Your workshop was transforming!”
Mary Silverthorn
O.P.P. Career Development Bureau

“Your key messages in Montreal reverberated throughout the rest of the conference.”
Sam Laredo
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

“Thank you for the great coaching. It was worth every penny. Thank you for all the feedback. It was a pleasure to have been coached by you.”
Zoi Angelis

“Really enjoyed the course, and found that everyone made great progress, Peter was a great instructor!”
Susan Roberts
Vice-President & Deputy Principal Broker
CDSPI Advisory Services Inc.

“Thank you, Peter, for the remarkable workshop I had the opportunity to attend. I’m confident that the instructions received will make a huge difference and enhance my speaking ability.”
Augusta Muresan, CPA
Federal Express Canada

“This course is excellent and I am so glad that I have taken it. It did help to improve the way to speak.”
Gloria Chan
Financial Advisor, CFO Branch, Ontario
Employment and Social Development Canada

“Thank you for a remarkable session. All of us did learn a lot. I look forward to applying what you have shared with me.”
Surinder Singh Aujla
Public Prosecution Service of Canada

“I enjoyed the course thoroughly. Very insightful. I look forward to receiving the recordings and an analysis of my performance.”
Rekha Chetlur
Manager, Information Management
Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change

“It was a pleasure meeting you and Peter. I’ve learned a lot over the Two-Day Workshop and hope to practice and utilize the methods taught in class, to continually improve.”
Jennifer Lee, CPA, CMA
Senior Financial Analyst, Finance, PRESTO