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

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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

New Book Redefines Presentations as Orderly Conversations

August 26, 2014 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, News, The Orderly Conversation

The Orderly Conversation is a groundbreaking book for business presenters who need to get business done.

(MINNEAPOLIS)

The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined, by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, is 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.

“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.”

What business presenters need, say the authors, is a new way to think about how they prepare for and deliver what they call “Orderly Conversations.” Developed through years as presentation trainers, this change in approach dramatically improves and empowers their clients’ communication skills.

“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.” [Tweet ““Thinking of #presentations as #conversations changes everything.””]

Published July 15 of this year, The Orderly Conversation has already begun gaining momentum. “Spread the word, gentlemen. If I had my way, your text would be required reading in every business school in the land,” wrote Robert Lane, Director, Aspire Communications.

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 www.theorderlyconversation.com, amazon.com and other online book retailers.

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 [website link] 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 to speak at conferences and corporate meetings. http://theorderlyconversation.com/wordpress/speaking/

Contact

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

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

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.

ABOUT GRANVILLE CIRCLE PRESS
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

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

Six Red Flags for Business Presenters

September 10, 2012 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Myths Debunked, Preparation, Presentation

I was on Linkedin this morning reading updates. While I was there, I saw a link to a blog that made me cringe. It was a post about how to deliver a perfect presentation. I clicked on it and saw, as I suspected, that every tip that was mentioned was only applicable to the speechmaking process—not  business presentations.

Once again, I thought to myself, the presentation skills training industry has a problem defining itself. Speeches and presentations are constantly tossed into the same big bucket and the bucket is labeled Public Speaking. Because of this, lists like the one I read this morning confuse and frustrate business presenters. The tips themselves weren’t bad for speechmakers. But for the business presenters we work with, they were inappropriate.

So, I’ve decided to come up with my own list. Here are six words that should be red flags for any business presenter reading a book, article, or blog about presenting. When you see them, beware. They aren’t for you.

  1. Performance: The presentations you deliver are not and should never be performances. They are conversations that need to take on a life of their own once they begin.
  2. Stage: When writers talk about “taking the stage” what they’re talking about is a performance.
  3. Entertain: While it’s fine for a speech to be entertaining, presentations shouldn’t be. Can we have fun during a presentation? Absolutely. But if you plan to be entertaining, chances are good that you’ll wind up wasting your audience’s time.
  4. Jokes: I don’t need to elaborate on this one, right?
  5. Perfect: Presentations are not perfect. Sure, they can “go very well,” they can “succeed,” but setting out to make them “perfect” won’t work. When presentations succeed, the presenter initiates and manages a lively, productive conversation with the audience.
  6. Practice: You wouldn’t think that practice could possibly be a bad thing, but if presenters practice to be perfect or practice to the point of scripting, they will be in big trouble. What you should do before you present is prepare to be flexible and responsive.

If you’re a business presenter, give yourself permission to ignore some of the recommendations you read, no matter how many times you see them. The work you do as a presenter is uniquely challenging and understanding how it differs from speechmaking is the first step toward improvement.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Deliver Answers to Everyone in the Room

April 30, 2012 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation, Video

In this video blog Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication, discusses the reasons presenters should direct their answers to everyone in the group during Q&A.

What Rules Do You Have For Creating Visual Aids?

April 9, 2012 in Author, Delivery, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Myths Debunked, Preparation, Video

Followers of this blog know that we are not a fan of rules. In this video blog, Greg Owen-Boger outlines some important things to consider when creating visual aids for presentations.

by Greg Owen-Boger, Vice President at Turpin Communication

Engage in the Conversation

March 5, 2012 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, FAQs, Preparation

As you know, if you’ve ever participated in one of our workshops, we talk a lot about the use of engagement skills, eye contact and pausing. We say that using these skills to engage listeners in the conversation reduces nervousness, brings listeners into the conversation and helps you avoid the hazards of a canned performance.

Recently I picked up a public speaking text book written in 1915 by James Winans. The title is Public Speaking, Principles and Practice. I won’t go into the details about how I landed on a text written almost a hundred years ago, but I can say I was pretty happy with what I found in it. Winans has something to teach us.

Winans comes from the perspective that public speaking is “perfectly natural” and an extension of what he calls “that most familiar act” of conversation. That’s right in line with what we teach in 2012. What really impressed me, though, was his precise definition of what it means to be engaged. For Winans, engagement requires two conversational elements:

1.    Full realization of the content of your words as you utter them, and
2.    A lively sense of communication

In other words, presenters need to (1) think about what they’re saying as they’re saying it and (2) they need to speak for the purpose of communicating with someone else.

You may be thinking that this is incredibly obvious and really not worth pointing out. But think about what happens when these two elements are missing from a presentation. Without the first, the presenter may be performing something that’s been rehearsed over and over again. Or floating along on autopilot, not really thinking about what he or she is saying. Without the second, the presenter is operating in a vacuum, not responding to the audience, not adapting to the situation, not caring whether anything is communicated or not.

So what Winans is teaching us is what engagement requires, what presenters need to think about and where their attention should go to be engaged in the conversation. His ideas enrich our sense of how eye contact and pausing work as the two engagement skill presenters rely on.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication