Give the Gift of Better Business Communication This Year

November 23, 2015 in Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, News, Posts for Buyers, The Orderly Conversation

Give the gift of The Orderly Conversation30% Off Your Entire Order

We’ve been told time and again: “I wish I’d had this book earlier in my career.”

So… no matter where your friends, family and co-workers are in their career, why not give them something they can really use?

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Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what others have put in writing:

Where was this book when I was starting out?!?”
Pamela Meyer, Ph.D., Author, “From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing for Dynamic Engagement”

“I’m buying several copies for my colleagues.”
Nick Rosa, Managing Director, Sandbox Industries

“Spread the word, gentlemen. If I had my way, your text would be required reading in every business school in the land.”
Robert Lane, Director, Aspire Communications

“I wish I’d had this book earlier in my career.”
Blaine Rada, “America’s Greatest Thinker,” The Great American Think-Off

“You will use what you learn in The Orderly Conversation in the office, at home, and really anywhere the stakes are high and you need to get business done.”
Antonia Fico, Director, Performance Solutions, US Cellular

5 Introverts Walk into a Presentation Skills Workshop …

October 26, 2015 in Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Presentation, Talent Development, Training

blog 10-27-15I was leading a presentation skills workshop a few weeks ago when something happened that has never happened before. It was during the needs assessment discussion. This is when we go around the room and everyone talks about their needs and what they’d like to take away from the class. This was a small group, five in all, and the first person to speak was a woman, who said this:

The problem I have is that when I’m communicating with my team, we’re all just sitting around a table like this, I start thinking about how everyone is looking at me. I HATE being the center of attention. I guess it’s because I’m an introvert.

One of the men in the class said:

Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m an introvert, too.

Then the others in the room joined in saying that they, too, were introverts. As the conversation moved forward, and after telling them that I was an introvert as well, we focused on what this particular trait meant for all of us when it came to business presentations.

Get Out of Your Head

They were highly self-aware, often to a fault. Three of the people in the class were a little obsessive about their physical or vocal characteristics, carrying feedback they had been given years ago into their work. I’ve written about this before here. As it turned out, these characteristics were not an issue at all, just a cause for worry.

Once they had this insight, they were better able to turn their focus outward.

Focus on Individuals One at a Time

They struggled to engage their audience. They were all experienced enough to know that establishing a genuine connection to listeners is a difficult—and very important—thing to do. Their presentations never felt quite right to them, though, the way an informal conversation feels.

They found that by focusing on single individuals in the beginning, bringing audience members into the conversation one by one, they were able to engage the group more effectively.

Grow Your Self-awareness

Finally, everyone benefitted from the objectivity provided by video. As with all of our workshops, these participants were video recorded as part of their training. Each of them was able to see that their internal dialogue, their worry, was getting in the way of their success.

The video gave them the insight they needed to focus on things that really mattered.

As I mentioned above, there were really six introverts in this workshop. The fact that I am an introvert was a surprise to this group, as it usually is to people who know what I do for a living. All it means, I said to them, is that some things take more effort for me than they do for my extroverted colleagues. Something as simple as being the first to speak to workshop participants as they come into a class is one of them. It’s much more natural for me to hold back and stay in the background until class begins. I’ve learned, though, that part of my job is being the host in every workshop, and that my work begins (and it is work for me) before the class actually starts.

by Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin Communication and co-author of the book, “The Orderly Conversation”

It’s Not That You Made a Mistake, It’s How You Recover

August 27, 2015 in Barbara Egel, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, Engaging Listeners, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Practice Does Not Make Perfect, Preparation, Presentation, The Orderly Conversation, Uncategorized

Recently, I had an opportunity to observe Greg coaching a very Type-A businessperson. In her one-on-one session, the question arose of how to deal with mistakes. During her in-class presentation delivery, she had experienced a brain blip and given an amount in thousands when she meant hundred-thousands. She had stopped, smiled, and said something like, “Well that would be a surprise, wouldn’t it?” corrected the number, and moved on. Greg complimented her on the save, saying, “Your professionalism comes out in your recovery from a flub, not in the fact that it happened.”

That is, the most effective business presenters are so engaged with their audiences and have constructed slides that work so well for them that if they trip over their tongues, get lost for a moment, or even say the opposite of what they really mean, they can recover smoothly and easily.

Well then how do you get to this point? One of the things we talk about a lot is the difference between speeches and presentations. Speeches are formal, scripted, read verbatim, and don’t involve audience interaction until the end (if then) with moderated Q&A. Business presentations are orderly conversations designed to move the work at hand forward. They also have different best practices for preparation: for speeches, you rehearse; for business presentations, you prepare and practice.

  • Rehearsal is designed to get you letter-perfect for your speech. You might think about where to pause, how to gesture, and what kinds of vocal inflection you want to use, like an actor preparing for a role.
  • Business presentations require you to . . .
    • Prepare your material in a way that it helps you engage and stay on track and helps your audience follow, learn, and understand.
    • Practice so you have a sense of the overall flow, adapt to who will be in the room, and get yourself comfortable with the goals of the presentation overall.

Slide1

A flub in a rehearsed speech is hard to recover from for all but the most experienced because a speech is inflexible and not designed for interruption, recap, or clarification. Therefore, a flub comes out looking like—a flub.

In a business presentation, you have prepared to be flexible—you know your stuff and you also know that you’ve created your materials to help you stay on track—so a flub is just one of the many things that can happen to which you respond in the moment, stay engaged with your audience, and move on. If it’s a big flub, they’ll smile with you and be impressed with your ability to recover and move on. If it’s a small thing, and most flubs are, they probably won’t notice at all.

If you find that you’ve said “accounts payable” when you mean “receivable” or Thailand when you meant Taiwan, correct and keep moving forward. Your audience will only remember that you were smooth in your self-correction, didn’t lose focus, and kept the whole room moving forward and making progress.

By Barbara Egel, Presentation Coach at Turpin Communication and editor of “The Orderly Conversation”

iBook at iTunes Joins The Orderly Conversation Family

July 27, 2015 in Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Talent Development, The Orderly Conversation

The Orderly Conversation is available at iTunes in the  iBookstoreAuthors Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger are happy to announce that The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined is now available at the iTunes bookstore.

About The Orderly Conversation®

The Orderly Conversation is a groundbreaking resource for business presenters.

It offers a new approach to the getting-business-done presentations you deliver—an approach that’s tailored to be appropriate for the real world of business and practical for every type of presenter and presentation.

The business presentations you deliver are not static or one-way. They are an exchange of information that has much more in common with informal conversations than formal speeches. They require a preparation process that looks ahead to the conversation that will take place and a delivery process that is flexible and responsive.

Our goal with this book is to call out many traditional assumptions about what it takes to succeed and replace them with something better.

The complete Orderly Conversation family includes:

Kindle is hereThe Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined

The Orderly Conversation: A Field Guide

The Orderly Conversation is published by Granville Circle Press.

______________________________________________
ABOUT GRANVILLE CIRCLE PRESS

Granville Circle Press (Minneapolis) publishes works in the communication arts, including Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference, selected by Kirkus Reviews “Best of 2012.” info@granvillecirclepress.com. The Orderly Conversation, ISBN 978-0-9838703-2-6 $21.95

ABOUT TURPIN COMMUNICATION

Turpin Communication (Chicago) was founded in 1992 to provide the best presentation and facilitation skills training available anywhere. Since then, it has helped business presenters in a broad range of industries and organizations focus on the skills and techniques that help them succeed. Authors Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger are available for media interviews, keynote addresses, and speaking at conferences and corporate meetings. http://theorderlyconversation.com/wordpress/speaking/

Webinar Recording from PresentationXpert

June 23, 2015 in Delivery, Facilitation, Greg Owen-Boger, Meetings, News, Preparation, Presentation, The Orderly Conversation, Video, Virtual

PresentationXpertGreg Owen-Boger, Turpin Communication’s VP and Dale Ludwig’s co-author, was invited to talk about The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined as part of the PresentationXpert Webinar Wednesday series.

There were a lot of great questions asked during the session, and it’s becoming abundantly clear that there’s a huge need in the business world to improve efficiency and effectiveness of presentations, meetings, and training sessions.

Here’s what a few people had to say after the webinar:

“Amazing … I cannot thank you enough for the amazing and professional job you did in today’s webinar.”
Sharyn Fitzpatrick, Webinar Chick, Marcom Gurus

“Nice to see a pro in action.”
Dave Zielinski, Editor, PresentationXpert

View the recording from the June 17, 2015 webinar hosted by PresentationXpert.


About the Book

The Orderly Conversation is a groundbreaking resource for business presenters.

It offers a new approach to the getting-business-done presentations you deliver – an approach that’s more appropriate for the real world of business and more practical for every type of presenter and presentation.

The business presentations you deliver are not static or one-way. They are an exchange of information that have much more in common with informal conversations than formal speeches. They require a preparation process that looks ahead to the conversation that will take place and a delivery process that is flexible and responsive.

The authors’ goal with this book is to call out many traditional assumptions about what it takes to succeed and replace them with something better.

Introducing a Just-in-Time Resource for Developing Your Next Business Presentation

June 2, 2015 in Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, Meetings, News, Preparation, Presentation, The Orderly Conversation

Has this ever happened to you? You have to give a presentation, but you’re not sure how to start putting it all together?

Wonder no more.

TOC_FieldGuide_Cover_ShadowIntroducing a just-in-time tool to help you get started. It’s a pocket-sized (5.5” x 3”) job aid that we’re calling The Orderly Conversation: A Field Guide. It includes an overview of Turpin Communication’s guiding principles for business presentations and bite-sized nuggets to help you . . .

  • Frame your presentations appropriately for a specific group of people at a specific moment in time
  • Develop slides that are effective AND easy to deliver
  • Engage your listeners in a genuine Orderly Conversation®
  • Direct your audience’s focus to and from your visual aid
  • Manage questions and facilitate discussions
  • Get business done

$9.95 Add to cart

The Orderly Conversation: A Field Guide is written by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, the authors of the original book, The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined.

Bulk orders available at a discount. Contact engage@theorderlyconversation.com for more information.

 

Level Up

February 11, 2015 in Author, Barbara Egel, Delivery, Preparation, Presentation

Barbara Egel, Coach at Turpin CommunicationIt’s pretty close to impossible to get all the way to your first real job without hearing the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” What people usually mean by it is look professional—like management—even if you are interviewing to be a line cook / intern / stockroom staffer. The idea is that by dressing a level or two up from what the position seems to require, you give the impression of being engaged and competent and having that little extra polish that will make you promotable someday.

I’ve never heard anyone say it about conducting business presentations, but I think the idea definitely applies: “Speak as if you have the job you aspire to.” All you have to do is listen a little to understand that speech habits are generational and that executives speak differently from junior hires. When you’re in your 20s, you are still socialized to speak like your peers. “Like,” “and stuff,” “you guys,” and uptalk are all habits attributed to millennials (and Gen-Xers like me, actually), and their use immediately marks the speaker as young. Young usually gets interpreted as inexperienced, unsophisticated, still in training, and kind of ignorable. Beyond these obvious generational markers, habits such as fidgeting, allowing sentences to run on after a thought is finished, avoiding eye contact, and not stopping to think are interpreted as indicating a green speaker and a junior employee.

I know you might be thinking, “But won’t it sound fake and weird if I get up to present and sound like Don Draper or Diane Sawyer?” Well, yes, but that’s the beauty of maturing. You get to sound like you only more confident, thoughtful, and authoritative.

Spend some time projecting ahead in your imagination. What do you expect to sound like when you have your own team to manage? When you move from a cube to an office? When your title starts with Senior or Chief or Principal? You know who you want to become in your work life. If you manage your habits, create your presentation materials, and adjust your internal monologue to be that person now, the potential for you to become that person—with all its perks and responsibilities—will be much more evident to those who determine your work future.

As you put together your slides, as you run through them for clarity and concision, be that person. You’ll be surprised at how many of your “junior” habits fall by the wayside and how quickly and easily you grow yourself up to be an excellent speaker—and still be yourself. Indeed, it’s kind of the Turpin tagline: “Find your focus” (decide who/how you want to be as you move forward in your career), “Be yourself” (not some fake uber-adult so you end up sounding like Ron Burgundy), “Only better” (the junior employee with senior potential, the kid who stands out in the crowd, and the one they can put in front of key clients).

By Barbara Egel, Presentation Coach at Turpin Communication and editor of “The Orderly Conversation”

5-Star Review for “The Orderly Conversation” at San Francisco Book Review

December 10, 2014 in Book Reviews, News, The Orderly Conversation

5-star_review_SanFran_BookReview

Review originally posted at The San Francisco Book Review

sanfranciscobookreview_logo_90

The Orderly Conversation depends on an assumption that business presentations are inherently different from other forms of public speaking, and so to be truly successful, presenters must learn a whole new set of skills. I’m not entirely sure that I agree with this assumption, since the authors seem to indicate that the main difference is that a business presentation requires an understanding of and connection with the audience. I would argue that audience connection is also vital to speech-making, as well as written communication (which is shown in this book as the “orderly” side of the order/conversation continuum). The thing that makes business presentations so different is the raised stakes—a failed business presentation can mean no sales, loss of a client, being passed over for needed funding, important instructions not being understood or followed, really the failure to accomplish the goal behind the presentation.

Now, the fact that I disagree with one of the major assumptions in the book does not mean that I think the book is without merit. Far to the contrary, I feel that the advice given here can be useful far beyond the somewhat limited scope of the business presentation (although there is plenty of variety included in that heading). Every speaker, whether in business, politics, or classroom, should learn their own natural inclinations when speaking, when those natural inclinations help and hinder, and specific ways to improve. Every speaker, regardless of setting, needs to know how to prepare effectively to allow for both the planned message and flexibility to adapt the plan. Every speaker should focus on meeting the needs of their audience, and should be armed with techniques to recognize if those needs are not being met in the presentation, and ways to remedy the situation.

Throughout the book, Dale Ludwig presents new information, while Greg Owen-Boger gives us practical application with example studies of a fictional workshop group (fictional characters that are composites of real people with real struggles that they have worked with). The eight people in the group each have different presentation styles, each have different reasons for participating in the workshop, and each have different needs and goals. This method of presenting the information was fantastic because you can clearly see how the advice given in the book can be adjusted to a variety of situations. At first I thought it would be difficult to keep track of so many different people, but each was a fully developed character with backstory and there never was any confusion between them. They are even represented by eight distinctive handwriting samples to keep a visual difference.

In addition to offering very useful advice and strategies for giving successful presentations, this book is just really well crafted. As mentioned before, there are visual cues for each of the workshop participants, but there is also a visual distinction between Dale’s informational sections and Greg’s practical application. The format of the book follows the advice given to presenters—it is clear, concise, and every aspect is designed to meet the needs of the audience. It frames the content with specific information in the introduction and conclusion, and even incorporates repeated internal framing visuals: the Table of Contents is repeated before each chapter—a reminder of what you’ve learned and where you’re going. Part of me wanted to think it was a waste of paper, part wondered why they would make such an unusual formatting decision, but by the time I reached the chapter where the technique was explained, I’d already decided it was more effective than wasteful.

The careful explanations and examples along with the minute considerations in formatting and design make this an instructional guidebook that practices what it preaches, and one that I can enthusiastically recommend.

Reviewed by Randy-Lynne Wach

Calculating the High Cost of Poor Communication

November 3, 2014 in Author, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Meetings, Posts for Buyers, The Orderly Conversation

Business presentations and meetings exist for one reason: to move business forward.

And they ought to do that effective and efficiently. But do they?

As it turns out, in far too many cases, no.

Backstory
Last week I delivered a keynote address at a conference. The presentation focused on some of the ideas in our new book, The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined.

The audience was made up of individual contributors, managers, and senior leaders. I asked them to think about that last business meeting or presentation that they had either led or participated in. Then I asked them, “Was it effective and efficient?”

Not a single person in that ballroom raised their hand. Not one.

The Cost in Numbers
meeting frustrationAfter the conference, I starting thinking about how much time, energy, and money are wasted every day, week, month, or year by ineffective and inefficient meetings and presentations. Then I started doing some math.

Using round numbers from Wikipedia (I know, I know…), the average household income in the US is $51,939. That’s roughly $1,000/week or $200/day. Assuming an 8-hour day, the average American is making $25/hour.

Had I only googled “average hourly rate,” I would have seen this site that says the US average hourly earnings is $24.53, so I guess my math is sound. Keep in mind this is the average of all workers across the country. I’m sure the average hourly rate for many of the people at the conference was considerably higher. But let’s stick with the average figure for the sake of this discussion.

Let’s assume that there were 8 people at a meeting you attended yesterday. The meeting lasted an hour and was led by Brad, one of your direct reports. Brad’s a great guy, but he came to the meeting unprepared. He wasn’t clear on what he wanted to accomplish. He rambled on and on, jumping from topic to topic. The other attendees were distracted and took the meeting off topic at times. At one point you stepped in to redirect the meeting back to Brad. It was a frustrating meeting and, unfortunately, typical.

Let’s assume that the meeting was important, and that Brad’s goal could have been accomplished in 30 minutes had he been prepared and had he managed the process better. So that’s 30 minutes (or .5 hours) wasted, multiplied by 8 people at the average hourly rate.

.5 hours x 8 people x $25/hour = $100 wasted yesterday.

$100 wasted x 52 weeks = $5,200 wasted per year.

$5,200 wasted x 10 business units = $52,000 wasted per year. That’s equal to the average salary of one person.

Staggering, isn’t it?

The Cost of Diminished Trust and Good Will
Now let’s look at it from a different angle. Yesterday’s meeting wasn’t unique. In fact, as you think about it, it’s status quo for Brad. You’re starting to notice that others are reluctant to attend Brad’s meetings. As a result of his inefficient meetings, he’s lost the good will of his colleagues, which is having a negative effect on his reputation.

Now, let’s say that Brad talks to you about how he’d like a promotion. In the new role Brad would have to have the skills to set direction, communicate expectations, and manage weekly status meeting with senior leadership. With his current skill set, you realize you can’t trust him to take on the new role.

Now what?
My colleagues and I believe that far too much time, energy, money, and good will are squandered through ineffective and inefficient business communication. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. People simply need to (a) understand the damage caused by poor communication, (b) rethink their current approach, and (c) get comfortable using a new set of tools.

Learn more by picking up a copy of The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined, or by calling us to set up a skill-building workshop for your employees.

I also encourage you to do your own math; I’ll bet the cost of training your employees will be less than maintaining the status quo.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP at Turpin Communication and co-author of the book, “The Orderly Conversation”

9 Habits of Highly Effective Business Presenters

October 7, 2014 in Delivery, Infographics, Presentation, The Orderly Conversation

This info graphic on the 9 Habits of Highly Effective Business Presenters was inspired by an article on this blog a few months ago. That article was inspired by a post by a fan of Turpin Communication. Enjoy.

 

9_Habits_Highly_Effective_Business_Presenters_INFOgraphic_draft_1