Why Your “Default” Matters

April 16, 2015 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Preparation, Presentation, Training, Video

When it comes to planning and delivering business presentations, we’ve found that individuals fall into two broad categories: (1) there are those who are comfortable with and rely on the preparation process and (2) there are others who are comfortable with and rely on the connection they establish with their audiences.

We call these categories Default Approaches. “Writers” prefer the preparation process. “Improvisers” thrive with a live audience.

Default ApproachNeither Default is better than the other. As the graphic above shows, each has strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Writers thrive with organization and preparation. They are naturally thorough, careful, detailed and accurate, which are good traits to have. However, left unchecked, they can be inflexible and too strict once the presentation starts. They feel as if their plan is a good one and it should not be altered. Writers are often uncomfortable with the idea of having to answer questions.
  • Improvisers thrive with the connection they have with listeners. They are spontaneous, responsive, and unafraid to make last-minute changes. Again, good traits to have. However, left unchecked, they talk in circles and confuse their listeners. Improvisers feel they can trust themselves to manage whatever situation they find themselves in. Unfortunately, they often lose focus, say too much, and run out of time.

The idea that everyone responds differently—in a very fundamental way—to the process of presenting explains why a one-size-fits-all approach to presentation training isn’t helpful. Recommendations made for one person will not necessarily work for someone else.[Tweet “A one-size-fits-all approach to presentation training isn’t helpful.”]

Watch Dale Ludwig, Turpin Communication’s Founder and the co-author of The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined, as he goes into more detail.



What do you think? Are you a Writer or an Improviser?

Read the book, The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined, to learn more. Available now at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Itasca Books and this website.

New Book Offers Game-Changing Approach to Business Presentations

July 15, 2014 in Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, News, The Orderly Conversation

Granville Circle Press announces the July 15, 2014 publication of “The Orderly Conversation,” a groundbreaking resource for business presenters.

News Release – PDF

Granville Circle Press announced today the publication of “The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined” by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, a book that promises to change the way business presenters think about the everyday presentations they deliver. The authors, communication experts with Turpin Communication (Chicago), offer a revolutionary approach that turns the old “Public Speaking 101” model on its head.

“The 101 model has been causing trouble for business people for years,” said Ludwig. He should know. He taught Public Speaking courses at the University of Illinois early in his career and has been working with business presenters since 1989.

“Much of what’s taught about business presentations needs to be replaced,” says Ludwig. “Traditional methods focus on ‘speechmaking.’ Speeches are a type of performance, something that can be rehearsed and perfected. Business presenters need something fundamentally different because delivering a speech will not help them close a complex deal, reach alignment with a team, or gather feedback on a broken process.”

This practical, realistic approach to business communication is one that turns away from “speechmaking” to focus on managing an “orderly conversation,” the type of lively interaction that thrives on the natural give-and-take between presenter and audience. Developed through years of Turpin Communication’s presentation workshops, this change in approach dramatically improves and empowers their clients’ internal and external communication.

pull-quote-1“This could change the way people do business! Where was this book when I was starting out?” said Pamela Meyer, Ph.D., author of “From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing for Dynamic Engagement.”

“Most presenters knew they weren’t delivering formal speeches, but the assumptions they were making and strategies they used didn’t reflect that,” says Owen-Boger. “Thinking of presentations as conversations changes everything: from preparation and delivery, through managing interactions, to how you judge your success when it’s all over.”

The Orderly Conversation takes readers through a clear and accessible process, inviting readers into one of the authors’ workshops to learn how to

  •     Frame a presentation as an extension of what came before
  •     Craft compelling visual aids that prepare you for the moment the conversation starts
  •     Engage listeners in a comfortable, flexible, and persuasive conversation
  •     Create the environment for productive interaction while maintaining control over the message
  •     Be clear and concise when thinking on your feet


“Most books on the subject stress how to look good speaking at people,” said Blaine Rada, professional speaker and management trainer named “America’s Greatest Thinker.” “’The Orderly Conversation’ shows how to truly connect with people, so you can stop performing and start engaging.”

Granville Circle Press calls their latest offering “eminently practical; real-world advice for the real world of business.” The Orderly Conversation is available now at http://www.theorderlyconversation.com, Amazon, and other online book retailers.

Granville Circle Press–“Communicating Good Ideas.”, including “Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference,” selected by Kirkus Reviews as a “Best of 2012.” info@granvillecirclepress.com The Orderly Conversation, ISBN 978-0-9838703-2-6 $21.95

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 key note addresses and to speak at conferences and corporate meetings.


Kyle Carlson
Granville Circle Press
+1 612-229-8896

Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
Turpin Communication

This news release was originally published here.

As a presenter, are you meeting your potential?

July 26, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Mary Clare Healy, News, Sarah Stocker

Are you meeting your potential and getting the results you want when it comes to presenting?

Are your team members?
Build on your experiences and learn the skills it takes to master your presentations once and for all.

We offer two different presentation skills workshops to meet the specific needs of today’s business presenters.

Mastering Your Presentations
No-nonsense Strategies for Presenting and Facilitating in Today’s Business Environment
October 25-26, 2011 in Chicago


Speaking with Confidence & Clarity
Fundamental Skills for the Nervous or Novice Presenter
August 25, 2011 in Chicago
November 17, 2011 in Chicago

A College Student’s Perspective on Presentation Skills Training

March 9, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, News, Preparation

The newest member of the Turpin Team is a college freshman named Conor. Conor works for us part time as a researcher and, in the summer, a video production assistant. Like everyone at Turpin, regardless of responsibilities, Conor was asked to participate in one of our individual enrollment workshops. The experience, I knew, would give him context for the research he was doing. I wasn’t too worried about putting him in a class with people much older and experienced than he was because Conor’s a smart and confident guy.

The great thing was that Conor’s presentation was a huge success. He adapted a report he had done the previous semester for an ancient philosophy class. He reorganized the information using Turpin’s organizational strategy and delivered it beautifully.

Here’s a note we got from Conor after he was back at school.

Dear Dale and Greg,
Before I get too far into this semester, I want to take the time to thank you for all you did for me during the individual enrollment workshop January 11th and 12th. You were patient, helpful, and best of all, fun to work with. Plus, I learned a lot from watching and getting feedback from the other people in the class.

As a university student, I wasn’t really sure if the Presentation Skills Workshop was going to have any impact in my daily life. The class is designed for business presenters, and I’m still delivering in-class presentations to my peers and an instructor. But I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I communicate, even though I’m only a few weeks into Spring semester. From having to present maybe a few bullet points in front of a small classroom, to my graded speeches in front of larger classes, I am more confident, clear and poised. I’ve also gotten great feedback from my classmates and instructors, which is especially nice.

The best thing is I feel like I have a real advantage over other students when it comes to presenting now. Thanks a lot for that!


What I’m really happy to see is that the workshop had a practical application for Conor, even if he is a few years away from graduation.

What out-of-the-ordinary presentation situations can we help you with?

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

My Presentation Slides are Too Detailed, but I Have to Use Them. Any Advice?

January 18, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Improving Your Visual Aids, Preparation, Video

This is a common issue we are asked about in Turpin Communication’s presentation skills workshops. You know your slides are too detailed and you have no power to change them. Maybe they came from Marketing, or Market Research, or maybe they were designed by a controlling manager. Whatever the issue, here’s Dale Ludwig offering some advice in this video blog.

What are your thoughts?

Take Your Presentations to the Next Level in 2011

December 1, 2010 in Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, News, Preparation, Sarah Stocker

Take your presentations (or your team’s) to the next level by participating in a highly interactive 2-day presentation skills workshop in Chicago presented by Turpin Communication.

2011 Presentation Skills Workshop Dates in Chicago:

  • January 11-12
  • April 12-13
  • July 11-12
  • October 25-26

These sessions are open to the public and are designed for business presenters at all levels. Enrollment is limited to just 8 participants. Each session will be taught by 2 instructors to ensure plenty of personal attention. See below for more information.

Reserve your spot soon because space is limited to just 8 participants. 

Hope to see you in 2011!

Learn More  |  Enroll Now

Course Overview

During this highly interactive workshop, we’ll help you
Find your focus. Be yourself. Only Better.

You’ll capitalize on your strengths and develop the skills you need to overcome your weaknesses. You’ll also learn:

  • How to engage your audience and appear more comfortable
  • How to feel less nervous
  • How to organize your presentations more clearly and efficiently
  • How to improve the design and delivery of your PowerPoint slides
  • How to make sure what you say is actually heard
  • How to manage questions and interruptions during your presentations

Throughout the course, you’ll work on a real-life presentation of your choosing. All exercises are videoed, but your videos aren’t replayed in front of the group. Instead, after the exercise, you’ll watch your video with a coach. This private coaching will provide additional – and very valuable – feedback to help you integrate what you’ve learned in class into the situations you face outside of it.

The course includes 12-month access to eCoach, Turpin’s online skill-reinforcement tool.

Learn More  |  Enroll Now

The BEST Way to Start a Presentation

September 15, 2010 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, Facilitation, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Introduction, Myths Debunked, Preparation, Presentation

According to most public speaking experts, the first 30 seconds of a speech are extremely crucial for the success of a presentation. So, what’s the best way to start a presentation?

We get this question a lot in our presentation skills workshops.  I also read similar questions on discussion boards on LinkedIn.  Unfortunately on LinkedIn, it seems that everyone’s a presentation expert.  That leads to a lot of bad advice.  No wonder presenters are confused about how to begin.

Typical “expert” responses include:

  • Show a video
  • Ask an open-ended question
  • Ask questions about their day so far
  • Have people introduce themselves to each other

While these ideas – if kept in a business context – aren’t terrible, they’re not enough on their own.  Ideas that are terrible:

Ahhhh… Enough with the gimmicks already
Participants in business presentations are not children.  They are adults who deserve better.

While I’ll agree that the first few moments of a presentation should get you started on the right foot, gimmicks don’t work.  Instead, work to engage your listeners in a meaningful, interesting, relevant dialogue.

Presentations are NOT theatre performances
We need to move away from the idea that a presenter’s job is to entertain or WOW or dazzle. Preparing a whiz-bang attention grabber ahead of time will always seem contrived.  Plus, it ignores the fact that something took place prior to your presentation.  Remember, the curtain isn’t going up.  The spotlights aren’t just now coming on.  When you walk to the front of the room you’re doing so in the context of whatever happened before.  You need to acknowledge that and then move into your presentation.

Presentations ARE Orderly Conversations
Every presenter’s job is to spark a conversation.  If you read this blog regularly, you know that we define presentations as Orderly Conversations.  “Orderly” because they need to be carefully organized and thought through.  “Conversations” because they need to feel spontaneous and interactive right from the start.

So, what IS the best way to start an orderly conversation?
Be in the moment, refer to the listeners’ current situation, and talk about how your presentation is going to address that issue. Examples:

Be in the moment:

  • “It’s been a long day (it’s hot, we’re behind schedule, etc.), so I’ll keep our discussion about X brief.”
  • “John just discussed ABC; I’m going to talk about XYZ.”
  • “Hope you all had a good evening, this morning we’re going to turn our focus toward…”

Refer to their current situation and your response to it:

  • “As we know, sales are sluggish, but today we’re going to talk about a new promotion that will turn things around.”
  • “We’re all busy and most of us feel overwhelmed. I’m here to talk about a new process to ease the pain.”
  • “A lot of discussion has been about X for some time now.  Today we’re going to address the issue so we can move on.”
  • “The bad news is X, the good news is Y, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.”

Give them a reason to listen and participate
Taking this approach with your introduction will give your listeners a reason to participate in the conversation without resorting to manipulation.

What are your thoughts?

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Eliminating Static: How to Help Listeners Tune into You and Your Presentation

August 3, 2010 in Author, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Preparation

Ever listen to an AM radio program while you’re driving?  If so, you know how static can make it difficult to hear the program.  No matter how much you try to tune in (either by listening more intently or adjusting the dial) there are times when you just can’t hear or understand what’s being said.  So, you do one of three things:

  1. zone out
  2. grab the bits you CAN hear
  3. change the dial

It’s frustrating when this happens.  You’re being made to work too hard to understand, so you give up.

This metaphor can be applied to presentations.
Greg Owen-Boger, Vice President of Turpin CommunicationIf you’ve been in a workshop with me in the last few years, chances are good this concept isn’t new to you.

Think back to a recent presentation or training session you delivered. Were people tuned into you?

Yes?  Good job.
No?  Or not sure?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Was I unintentionally causing static?
  • Did I make my listeners work too hard so they tuned me out?

Static – or what others might call distractions – can creep into presentations in a lot of ways.  Here are some of them:

Behavior during delivery:

  • Not pausing between thoughts can make you seem frenzied.
  • Pacing or wandering about the room for no reason can make you seem unfocused.
  • Saying too many “ums” or “uhs.”  (Read this post to see what we say about this, it may NOT be a static problem.)
  • Poor eye contact (bouncing quickly from person to person or looking through or over people) can make you appear disengaged or nervous.
  • Fidgeting with a pen, ring or remote can make you look uncomfortable.
  • Speaking with low volume or in monotone can make you seem timid.

Ineffective preparation:

  • Creating visual aids that are disorganized can make you appear unprofessional.
  • Designing visual aids with lots of animation or wild colors can make you appear juvenile.
  • Cluttering up your slides with too much information can confuse listeners.

All of these things can distract listeners and make them tune you out.

It’s your responsibility as the speaker to help listeners stay tuned in.
Having said something, doesn’t mean that it’s been heard and understood.  As presenter, you need to take responsibility for making sure that both things happen.

So, what are the ways to eliminate static?
First, you need to be aware of your listeners’ response to you.  You need to actually see and take mental note of how tuned in they are.  Look for their reactions, and respond accordingly just as you would in everyday conversation.

Second, if you notice that they are tuning out, help them tune back in.  You can:

Adjust your behaviors:

  • Pause longer and more often than you’re accustomed to.
  • Move with purpose, and when you get to your destination (screen, laptop, closer to a single individual) stay there longer than you naturally would.
  • Put down the pen or anything else that might cause you to fidget.
  • Increase your volume.

Tune into them:

  • Establish better eye contact and stay with the person through the end of a thought before moving on.
  • Get them talking by asking for feedback on your topic.  Rhetorical questions are not what I’m talking about here; ask genuine questions and look for thoughtful answers.

Ah… that sounds better.  What a relief.
Let’s go back to the scenario in the car.  You’re driving along listening to the AM radio show, and all of a sudden everything is clear with no static at all.  What a relief.  You can finally hear and understand what’s being said.

Work to be that clear every time you present.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

What to do when asked questions about things you have already talked about.

June 8, 2010 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Handling Questions, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Mary Clare Healy, Video

Here’s a Frequently Asked Question about being interrupted during a presentation with something you’ve already addressed.

Mary Clare answers in this video blog entry.

What should you do when you get asked questions about things you already talked about?

Presenting Globally: Getting Your Message Across the Cultural Gap

May 11, 2010 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, News, Preparation


Chicago, Illinois – May 11, 2010 – Turpin Communication, a Chicago-based training company specializing in tailored presentation and facilitation skills development, announces a new workshop developed in partnership with the Global Intercultural Consulting, based in Silicon Valley.  The workshop, called “Presenting Globally: getting your message across the cultural gap,” will combine Turpin’s expertise in practical, individualized presentation skill development with the Global Intercultural Consulting’s extensive experience with cross-cultural communication consulting.

Turpin and GIC are a good fit for each other.  Both companies help business people develop the flexibility they need to communicate successfully in a variety of situations.  “Presenting Globally” (delivered in English) will focus on all the skills typically developed in Turpin’s workshops with the added layer of cultural considerations.  Training will be tailored to focus on whatever societies speakers and their real-life audiences represent.

According to Dale Ludwig, President of Turpin Communication, the synergy between the two organizations is excellent, “Rochelle Kopp (Managing Principal at GIC) and I have worked together on cross-cultural presentation training before, and it’s great to be working with her again.  When her subtle, practical insight into how people from different cultures interact is part of our skill-building workshops, we’re really able to help global presenters meet the challenges they face.”

About Turpin Communication

Turpin Communication has been delivering presentation and facilitation skills workshops since 1992.  It delivers group workshops to a variety of clients, open-enrollment classes for individuals, and presentation skills training delivered online.   Turpin’s goal is to help presenters and group facilitators develop the skills and insight they need to succeed.


Media Contact:
Dale Ludwig, Ph.D. President
Turpin Communication