Rethinking the Visual Component of Your Presentations (Part 2 of 4)

August 27, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Preparation, Presentation

Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

This is the second in a series of four articles about the need to take a fresh look at the visuals you use in your presentations. Here’s the question I posed at the end of the last article.

As you know, we define presentations as Orderly Conversations. We need to ask how the slides you use contribute to the process. Do they bring order to or are they the subject of the conversation?

The visuals you use serve two basic functions. Some of them bring order to the conversation. Let’s call them framing slides. Other visuals are the subject of the conversation. Let’s call them content slides.

Framing Slides
These slides appear in the introduction, conclusion, and as transition slides in the body of the presentation. Slide titles are also used to reinforce the frame. The role of these slides is to make listening easier for your audience. Think of them as a road map. They tell the audience what you want to achieve, how the presentation is organized, and why it’s happening. They provide context and a sense of order.

Too often, presenters underuse these slides because they don’t contain much content. Agenda slides are flashed on the screen with a quick, “And here’s our agenda” and then they’re gone. Similar things happen with transition slides, slide titles, and conclusion slides. While you may struggle to know what to say when these slides are on the screen, just remember their function. They are there to bring order to the conversation and build the audience’s confidence in you as a presenter.

Content Slides
The slides you deliver in the body of the presentation are the subject of the conversation taking place. As such, they receive more attention than framing slides. Sometimes, when you’re delivering a lot of detail and data, the audience focuses on the visual for an extended period of time.

When this happens, the slide is much more than what we think of as “visual aids,” the simple, subordinate type of visual traditionally used by speechmakers. When content slides are delivered you and the audience need to give them the attention they deserve. That might be a lot or a little, depending on how the content fits into the presentation as a whole.

What you say about content slides will also be influenced by your audience, of course. You may need to say more than you intended or less. Just remember that your goal is to keep whatever you say within the context of the presentation’s frame.

In the next article, I’ll write about visuals that have a life outside of the presentation in which they’re being used.

Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

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

Use internal agendas to reinforce your presentation’s structure.

September 24, 2012 in Author, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Preparation, Presentation, Video

Greg Owen-Boger, VP of Turpin Communication, shows how using internal agendas can keep both the presenter and the audience on track.

eCoach Streamlines and Enriches Presentation Skills Training

January 22, 2010 in Author, Dale Ludwig, News, Training


Chicago, Illinois – Turpin Communication, a Chicago-based training company specializing in tailored presentation and facilitation skills development, has launched eCoach, a first-of-its-kind learners’ portal.  Through eCoach, Turpin blends the highly experiential in-class training they’re known for with the convenience and efficiency of online training.  The unique training experience offered through eCoach not only streamlines the live training process, but also enriches skill development over the long term.  The result is greater value and increased return on their client’s training investment.

eCoach enriches the live workshop experience in three ways.

Online pre-work jumpstarts the training. Before their live workshop, participants spend an hour or two online completing a draft of the presentation they will practice in class.   The pre-work course, called “Preparing Your Presentation” is taught by Turpin trainers using video and PowerPoint.  As they create their presentations, participants are also learning Turpin’s unique approach to fast, effective organization.   When the draft presentation is completed, it’s uploaded to eCoach.  From there, Turpin trainers review it and prepare feedback to be delivered in the workshop.

This is an important advantage because when participant and trainers meet in the classroom, the foundation for the class is already laid.   “Not only does this save precious workshop time,” says Dale Ludwig, Turpin’s president, “but since participants are able to work at their own pace online they have time to absorb the underlying concepts of organization and persuasion.”

eCoach enriches individual coaching. Beyond pre-work, the secure eCoach site is used to house each participant’s in-class videos.  Like most presentation skills companies, Turpin relies on video to help presenters gain perspective and focus their improvement.  When videos are recorded in class, participants review them privately with a Turpin trainer.  Until recently video was recorded on VHS tapes.  It was the switch to digital recording, according to Ludwig, that sparked the eCoach revolution.  “Once video went digital, we realized that we had a huge opportunity to improve how the video was accessed and the quality of learning attached to it.”

Workshop participants no longer leave class with a VHS tape in tow.  Instead, after the workshop all videos are uploaded to eCoach.  From there, Turpin trainers review them, integrating comments and reminders that will be visible to participants as the video plays.  This way, when presenters review their videos, they’re reminded of the coaching they received.   “Before eCoach,” says Ludwig, “what was discussed with presenters during video review was fleeting and easily lost.  Now we’re able to put it at their fingertips.”

Skills are refreshed. Workshop participants have access to eCoach for the twelve months following their live workshop.  During that time they can review their videos, retrieve course materials and watch seven refresher videos.  These brief refreshers offer on-demand reminders and skill reinforcement.  Like the pre-work, the refreshers are another way Turpin is using online methods to enrich the live workshop experience.

Turpin’s clients are excited about the value-add eCoach provides.  As Frank Iamelli of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said, “I’m thrilled to be able to offer something new, innovative and cost-efficient while still bringing high-value (training) to our students.”

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