New Communication Guide Offers a Game-Changing Approach to Business Presentations

April 16, 2014 in Delivery, Facilitation, News, Preparation, Presentation, Talent Development, The Orderly Conversation, Training, Uncategorized

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

News Release – PDF

PrintGranville 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 “getting-business-done” 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.

“Much of what’s taught about business presentations needs to be replaced,” says Ludwig. “Traditional methods focus on ‘speechmaking’ and the notion that presentations are like performances. That concept just doesn’t match the kind of presentations people actually give in the course of their work. Business presenters need a fundamentally different approach.”

That approach, say the authors, is one that shifts from “speechmaking” to thinking of business presentations as “orderly conversations” that thrive on the natural give-and-take between presenter and audience. Developed through Turpin Communication’s presentation workshops, Ludwig and Owen-Boger have seen this shift dramatically improve and empower their clients.

“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

  • Prepare for a genuine conversation
  • Engage listeners in a comfortable, flexible, conversation
  • Craft compelling visual aids that prepare you for the moment of delivery
  • Create the environment for productive interaction
  • 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.” Due to be released in July 2014, The Orderly Conversation is available for pre-order.

ABOUT GRANVILLE CIRCLE PRESS
Granville Circle Press publishes works in the communication arts, including “Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference,” selected by Kirkus Reviews as a “Best of 2012.” 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 key note addresses and to speak at conferences and corporate meetings.

Contact

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

Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
Turpin Communication
773-239-2523
Email

This news release was originally published here.

Presentation Skills Training: REDEFINED. (Part 4 of 5)

March 12, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5

This is the fourth in a series of five blog posts focusing on the skill-building approach business presenters need.

As I said in the first post of this series, if you find yourself in a presentation skills workshop where you are not working on preparing and delivering a real-life presentation, pack up your things and leave the class. I feel comfortable making this assertion because improving your skills as a business presenter is all about nuance and flexibility. Neither can be fully appreciated unless you’re working with content that’s real to you.

When I was teaching Public Speaking 101 to college students I was frustrated by the fact that my job was to teach students about public speaking, not developing their skills in public speaking. Granted speeches were delivered in class, but they were almost always merely another academic exercise for the students. For the most part, they didn’t care all that much about the topic they spoke about. They were interested in getting a decent grade.

You certainly can’t blame the students for that, but each grade had to be determined by behaviors that were objectively and fairly measured. This leads to standardization, prescriptive delivery, and speeches that very rarely had a demonstrable effect on audience or speaker alike.

Business presenters need something very different than that.

When you deliver a presentation, you’re doing something that is very much a part of your job. Your audience is equally invested in the presentation and its outcomes because it’s their job to be that way. What needs to happen during a presentation skills workshop, then, must recreate that environment as fully as possible. That begins, of course, with the topic of the presentation each person is working on.

When training opens up to an examination of real-life topics and audiences, the workshop can focus on subtleties like these.

  • When you prepare your presentations, are you able to focus on the audience’s need to understand what you’re presenting or are you simply focused on the information itself? Focusing on audience understanding is not intuitive for most presenters because it requires a hard look at familiar content from another’s perspective. That’s a necessary, but not always easy process.
  • Another issue concerning preparation: do you tend to over-prepare because you’re after absolute accuracy or do you tend to under-prepare because you understand the content so well? Understanding and adapting to what comes naturally to you is crucial for improvement.
  • During delivery, how does your familiarity with your content affect your ability to explain it to someone else? Do you go too quickly, making too many assumptions? Do you go into more detail that anyone needs? Are you able to adjust to the level of knowledge or interest of audience members? These questions can only be answered through practice and feedback using real-life content during the training process.

These are some of the issues that need to be surfaced during your training.

In the final post in this series, I’ll discuss how the coaching you receive during your training must focus on what you bring into the class as much as what you take away from it.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 5

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Presentation Skills Training: REDEFINED. (Part 3 of 5)

February 20, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

Part 1, Part 2, Part 4Part 5

This is the third in a series of five blog posts focusing on the distinction between the academic approach to public speaking and the skill-building approach business presenters need. My goal with this series is to talk about why the application of Public Speaking 101 approaches in the corporate training room fails to meet the needs of business presenters.

This post will focus on what are traditionally called “delivery skills.” These are the physical and vocal skills you use to communicate in every face-to-face interaction. If you approach your presentation as a performance instead of a conversation (as I discussed in my last post), your focus will be on how these skills look and sound to your audience. The success of a performance of a speech involves, for example, establishing eye contact with your audience to appear trustworthy, pausing to emphasize your points, controlling gestures to appear professional, and bringing enthusiasm to your voice.

What’s missing with that approach is consideration of what these skills do for you, the presenter. Let’s look at eye contact and pausing. During our workshops we talk about these skills as engagement skills. When they are used well, they help presenters relax, focus, and bring their listeners into the conversation.

The use of these skills, in other words, is about much more than simply how they make you look and sound. They are essential for the conversation. Through their application you are able to keep your thoughts and focus in the here and now. If you’re only thinking about how these skills appear to others, it takes you out of the moment and turns your focus inward. This weakens your connection to listeners and turns the conversation into a performance.

For most people, after you’re engaged in the conversation, your other delivery skills take care of themselves. Gestures occur naturally and vocal enthusiasm is appropriate and genuine. So rather than thinking of these skills as the polish you apply to performance, think of them as the welcome result of being engaged in the conversation.

In the next post I’ll talk about the need to bring real-life presentations into training.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 4Part 5

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Presentation Skills Training: REDEFINED. (Part 2 of 5)

February 5, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

Part 1, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

This is the second in a series of five blog posts focusing on the distinction between the academic approach to public speaking and the skill-building approach business presenters need. My goal is not to take issue with the teaching that takes place in university classrooms. Rather, I’m arguing against the application of that methodology—or parts of it—in the corporate training room.

This post will focus on the most fundamental question involved: what is your workshop training you to do?

If the training you receive applies the Public Speaking 101 approach, you are being taught to deliver a speech. A speechmaking approach is built on assumptions and goals that are unique to that particular type of communication.

  • Speeches are meticulously prepared, often scripted.
  • The delivery of a speech is a type of performance, one that has probably been rehearsed.

No matter what type of speech you’re delivering this process is the same. Whether you’re a president delivering a State of the Union address, a speaker at a TED conference, a motivational speaker paid to inspire, or a student working for a good grade in 101, your job is to nail down your message and deliver it with the control and finesse of an actor. In this way, a speech is a type of performance.

Speechmakers succeed when everyone in the room is drawn in, when the audience responds to the message and the messenger.

Business presentations are a fundamentally different process, not simply because they may involve smaller audiences or focus on mundane topics. The difference between a speech and a presentation is in the nature of the connection between speaker and audience. At its core, a business presentation is a conversation, a process in which presenter and audience are engaged in a give and take. No matter what the goal may be—gaining buy in, selling something, sharing information—presenters and their audiences work together. If presenters approach a presentation as a performance, this process can’t take place.

Presenters succeed when their message is an appropriate response to the here and now of the audience.

This distinction affects the way your presentations are prepared, how visuals are used to support them, what effective delivery looks and feels like, and how interactions are encouraged and controlled. If your presentation skills training ignores these differences, you’re getting the wrong set of tools.

In the next post I’ll discuss the non-performance tools you need to engage your audiences in the conversation.

Part 1, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Presentation Skills Training: REDEFINED. (Part 1 of 5)

January 28, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin CommunicationI read an interesting post by Josh Bersin on LinkedIn last week about the mismatch between academic education and job skills. What jumped out at me was research showing that “While 42% of employers believe newly educated workers are ready for work, 72% of educational institutions do.”

That’s a pretty big disconnect, but it’s one that I’m used to in my corner of corporate learning and development. Participants in our presentation skills workshop always have to unlearn what they have been taught in school about presenting. In fact, as I have written about here, most training delivered to business presenters misses the mark because it is built on what is essentially an academic methodology.

I think it’s time to revisit this issue.

My goal in the next four blog posts is to talk about the fundamental differences between an academic (think Public Speaking 101) methodology and the skill building approach my colleagues and I have developed over the past 20 years. The question I’ll try to answer is this: How do I know I’m getting presentation skills training that will give me the skills I need to succeed on the job?

Here’s an overview.

  • Presentation skills training must focus on the type of presentations you actually deliver. So my next post will focus on the difference between a speech and presentation. Or, to put it another way, the difference between a performance and a conversation.
  • Next, I’ll talk about why the skills you need for presenting must be built from the inside out. Improvement must focus on how things feel to the presenter as well as how they appear to the audience.
  • If you find yourself in a presentation skills workshop where you are not working on the nitty-gritty challenges of a real-life presentation, pack up your things and leave the class. This is not because training should be as relevant as possible; it’s about nuance. The fundamentals of preparing a presentation are easy to understand (and most people already know them). The challenge is with their application.
  • Finally, the coaching you receive in a presentation skills workshop must focus on your response to the challenges of presenting. You are not, after all, a blank slate. You have experience and preferences that are unique to you. After a presentation skills workshop, you should have more perspective on yourself and a clear sense of not only what you should focus on to improve but also why you should focus on it.

I look forward to going into more detail in the weeks to come.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Flexibility in PowerPoint Slide Preparation

January 9, 2012 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation, Preparation

This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Part 1. Part 2.

This is a follow-up to the post I wrote last month about preparing to be flexible. Here, I’m going to focus on a new way to think about the slides you use.

If we’re going to take the “conversation” part of the Orderly Conversation seriously, we need to think of a presentation as essentially the same process as sitting down and talking with someone across the desk about your topic. This sort of conversation happens all the time during our workshops. Before participants get up to the deliver the presentation to the group, I always sit down with them and look at the slides they’ve prepared. The first questions I ask are usually, “So what is your presentation about?” “Who’s your audience?” and “Why are you delivering this?” After I get a basic understanding of the presentation’s topic and audience, we go through the slides one by one. As we do that, if I get lost, I ask “So what’s your goal with this slide? Why did you prepare it this way?”

What’s happening during this process is an easy conversation about each slide in the deck. Participants aren’t nervous because they don’t think of this as an actual presentation. They’re just filling me in on what their intentions were when they created the slides.

The thing is, though, this is exactly the way presenters should deliver their slides during a presentation. While they may not have someone sitting next to them saying, “What was your goal when you put this slide together?” that’s the question they need to answer.

It comes down to a time issue. Slides are something you prepare at one point in time for a conversation that will take place at another point in time. Acknowledging that distinction, that separation, is a great way to keep the slides in perspective and the presentation conversational. When you talk about your intentions with your slide, or how the slide fits into this particular moment in the presentation, they become something you use to make your point, not something that must be followed no matter what. For example, saying things like this are helpful for you and your audience:

  • When I created this slide, my goal was to draw attention to…
  • I pulled data together from a couple sources here to show you…
  • We started talking about this information a couple minutes ago when Doreen asked about…

So remember, you’ll gain flexibility when you acknowledge that the slides you deliver are the product of work you did in advance of the conversation. From there, you can go where you need to go in the conversation.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Prepare to be Flexible

December 19, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation, Preparation

This is part 2 of a 3-part series. Part 1. Part 3.

This is a follow-up to the blog I wrote a couple months ago about extemporaneous delivery. That post was about the fact that there isn’t a lot of agreement about what “extemporaneous” delivery actually means. Some sources say that it involves preparation and the use of notes. Others believe that it’s an impromptu approach to delivery with no preparation all.

What I find interesting is that the options described in those definitions are precisely the options business presenters have to think about during a presentation. How should they prepare? What are the goals of preparation? How should their “notes”— PowerPoint slides or handout—be used during delivery? These questions all have to do with balancing the orderly part of a presentation with the conversational part of it.

The first step is to prepare to be flexible. That means a couple things.

  1. It means you never know exactly what may happen during a presentation. While you need to anticipate your listeners’ situation, you can never completely predict it. So, preparing to be flexible means that you go into the presentation ready to adapt.
  2. Being ready to adapt means having a plan that will go with the flow of the conversation.

What does this mean in practice? Here are the three things you should do:

  1. As you know, it’s important to acknowledge the audience’s current situation in the introduction of your presentation. Remember, though, that the current situation can change quickly. For example, there may be people in your audience you didn’t know would be there or maybe something happened in the presentation before you that affects yours. Be ready to recognize the new situation and respond to it.
  2. Treat your agenda as a simple road map, as one of the ways to reach your destination. You may find when the presentation begins that you need to backtrack a little or take a detour. As long as you keep your destination in mind, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Reaching your goal is more important than blindly following your agenda.
  3. Think about different ways to explain the information in the body of your presentation. Imagine how your explanations would change if they were delivered to different people or in response to specific questions from your audience. This will increase your flexibility when you’re deep into the conversation and need to adapt to various people and perspectives.

In my next post on this topic, I’ll discuss what the “extemporaneous” delivery of slides and handouts requires.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Extemporaneously Speaking…

October 18, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation

This is part 1 of a 3-part series. Part 2. Part 3.

When I’m not in the classroom these days, my focus is on the book I’m writing for business presenters. A few weeks ago I was working on one of the early chapters, the one in which I try to explain what it is about business presentations that makes them challenging and unique. If you’re familiar with our approach, you know that we treat presentations as Orderly Conversations. Not speeches. Not performances. But a conversation between presenter and audience that must be prepared, initiated and managed.

So there I was struggling through a paragraph when it occurred to me that I needed a word to describe what happens when an Orderly Conversation is delivered. If it’s not a performance and it’s not entirely off-the-cuff, what is it? The best word I could come up with was “extemporaneous,” an old-fashioned sounding term I hadn’t really used since leaving academia over 20 years ago. I’m sure you remember that students in Public Speaking 101 are encouraged to be extemporaneous; to deliver their speeches in a way that sounds spontaneous, even though they’re prepared.

So, I went to www.dictionary.com to get the definition. What I found was helpful, but not in the way I’d hoped.

Extemporaneous
–adjective

  1. done, spoken, performed, etc., without special advance preparation; impromptu: an extemporaneous speech.
  2. previously planned but delivered with the help of few or no notes: extemporaneous lectures.
  3. speaking or performing with little or no advance preparation: extemporaneous actors. (emphasis mine)

All of these definitions focus on the tension between preparation and spontaneous delivery, but they do so in conflicting ways. The first mentions that being extemporaneous means delivery “without special advance preparation.” The second focuses on planning in advance and the possibility of using notes during delivery. The third claims that a speaker can be extemporaneous without any preparation at all.

What’s interesting is that these definitions are wrestling with the question every presenter struggles to answer: What’s the best way to manage the tension between preparation and delivery?  What type of planning or preparation works? How much should you prepare? Should you use notes? What about rehearsal?

These dictionary entries point to the complexity of this challenge. In future blog posts I’ll talk about what it means to be “extemporaneous” and what you can do to keep your presentations both orderly and conversational.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Forget Public Speaking 101

December 14, 2009 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, FAQs, Preparation, Video

We’re often asked what makes Turpin Communication’s approach to presentation skills training unique.  Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication, answers in this video.

Dale Ludwig, President of Turpin Communication

Dale Ludwig, President of Turpin Communication