The Cannes film festival is famous the world over for many reasons. There's the glamour, of course, the ultra-exclusive location on the French Riviera, world famous stars and directors wandering the Promenade de la Croisette. There are the movies with many high-profile Hollywood pictures premiering during the festival. And then there are the prizes, awards that can be slapped onto a promotional poster or DVD cover and push sales up dramatically.

However, there's also an important, behind-the-scenes, and largely unheralded side to the festival - a business side. Would-be filmmakers flock to the Côte d'Azur to pitch their ideas to studio executives, in the hope of acquiring funding for their proposed picture. It's the largest, busiest and potentially the most lucrative pitching market in the cinema world - but the inevitable flipside of all that activity is that time is at a premium. For a pitch to have any chance to succeed, it's not enough to merely be a good idea: the pitch itself needs to be perfect, and the impression it (and the pitcher) creates must be as appealing as possible. The executives will be seeing an awful lot of proposals during the festival, and won't have time for a poor presentation, even if it's presenting a fine idea.

Most of us, of course, will never find ourselves needing to rapidly grab the attention of Hollywood money-men. But that doesn't mean we won't be in a position that demands a presentation that's of the highest quality from start to finish, and it doesn't mean we won't be pitching a proposal in the knowledge that the appeal of the initial impression is crucial. Too often there's no second chance to be found, so you'll want to be sure of getting it right first time - and if you've not had long experience of successful presentations, the best source of that vital confidence is going to be a short course of training, whether in general presentation skills or in the use of presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. Or perhaps even a spot of training in both the personal skills and the software - there's no such thing as being too ready.

However, recognising the advantages of training and identifying the perfect training provider are not one and the same. A quick online search will show that there's an awful lot to choose from. So, what can you look for to identify the ideal partner? Is there anything that separates those that will give you a clear advantage from those who will fail to help?

Well, if you're in need of this training to ensure that a vital presentation makes the perfect impact, then the last thing you need is for it to not go ahead. Now, this might seem rather self-explanatory, but you might be surprised at just how often many training providers will cancel courses - usually because they don't feel there's been sufficient demand. It's important to search for a provider that puts your needs first, guaranteeing that the course you need will run as planned. After all, the training provider is your partner in the preparations; they shouldn't be leaving you high and dry just because it suits them to do so.

The provider should also be prioritising your needs in other areas. Class sizes should be kept small enough for an effective and involved learning experience. Courses should be available when and where you need them. The booking of courses should be easy and clear enough that you don't waste any time that could be put to better use. And critically, given that a short training course is just that - short - and the human memory is fallible, the training provider shouldn't think that their job ends when you walk out the door at the end of the day; rather, support on the subject studied should be available for a long time afterwards, so you always feel confident in your new skills.

And with these new skills, you can be confident of the presentation making the perfect. Whatever you need to make a pitch or presentation about, for whatever subject and whatever purpose, finding the perfect training can give you a clear advantage - and help you to put on a prize-winning performance.