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

Dealing with Presentation Nerves

September 27, 2011 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, Engaging Listeners, Facilitation, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Preparation, Video

Nervousness when speaking in public is an issue for many people. In this video blog I discuss what I believe to be the root cause of most people’s nervousness, which is striving for perfection.

Learn more at www.turpincommunication.com.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP Turpin Communication

Who does the best presentation skills training?

July 27, 2010 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Greg Owen-Boger, News

Greg Owen-Boger, Vice President of Turpin Communication

Recently this question was asked on a LinkedIn Q&A discussion forum:  “Who does the best presentation skills training?”

While we always believe that Turpin Communication provides the best training in the industry, we were pleased to see that two of our recent workshop participants agree (and were willing to say so online).  Here’s what they had to say:

From Beverly Feldt (Vice President, Workplace Productions)

“Just took a two-day workshop last week with Turpin Communication, and I thought it was the most valuable presentations training I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve even taught the subject).

There was a great deal of practice and individual coaching.  Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger have a knack for boiling things down to manageable, memorable bits without oversimplifying or giving things cutesy names. We worked both on organizing a presentation and on the physical and mental side of things. I feel that I gained a lot of new skills, and I really enjoyed the whole process.”

Then, from Barbara Egel (Vice President, Primary Insights)

“I will agree with Beverly that Turpin is amazing. If you want “tips and tricks” that lead you to the same cookie-cutter presentation as everyone else, go elsewhere. If you want to be equipped with the skills to face down pretty much any situation that might come up in the course of preparing, presenting, and Q&A, try Turpin.

I’m an experienced speaker, and I thought the two days might be only mildly useful to someone who’s done as many presentations as I have. Instead, the pre-work, organizational skills, and continual video analysis of me speaking taught me a lot. You get to stay yourself, work from your strengths, and adapt the skills to your industry and audience. A most worthwhile two days.”

You can view the entire string of comments here:

Don’t miss your next opportunity to join a public workshop.  Visit the Individual Enrollment Presentation Skills Workshop page.

Or call Dana at 773-294-1566

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