Why We Do What We Do (Part 4 of 4)

May 6, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

A Discussion of Turpin Communication’s Core Principles:
The Presenter’s Role as Facilitator

Part 1Part 2, Part 3

Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin CommunicationThis is the fourth and final post focusing on Turpin’s core principles. In the first three I defined the Orderly Conversation, Default Approaches and what it means to be engaged in a genuine conversation. In this post I’ll talk about how delivering a presentation, regardless of its purpose or setting, requires the skills of a facilitator.

When we think of facilitation, most of us think of the discussions that take place in the training room, during problem-solving meetings, or brainstorming sessions. Facilitators in these situations are skilled at moving a group of people toward a specific goal. They help people understand new information, find solutions, and share insights. Their job is to (1) encourage the process to ensure a genuine conversation takes place and (2) control the conversation to keep it appropriately focused on the goal.

This isn’t easy, of course, because the first goal always competes with the second. When the conversation really gets going, the facilitator has to be astute enough to rein it in without stifling it altogether.

Facilitating Your Presentations

The same thing needs to happen during your presentations—even if you’re the person doing most of the talking. Your audience wants to feel they have the opportunity to participate, even if they choose not to take it. They also want to feel that you’re capable of managing the twists and turns of the conversation, even when they are the people pulling you off track.

Many presenters—especially those who are under the stress of nervousness, are new to their role, or feeling intimidated by the audience—are too controlling. Their focus on the orderly part of the process makes them appear uncomfortable, impatient, defensive, or domineering. They don’t trust the audience or the process enough to let the conversation breathe. Audiences sense this, of course, and pull away. Sometimes they simply shut down and wait for the presentation to be over. Sometimes their frustration leads to more open resistance.

The most successful presenters are those who understand that they can’t get the job done without the audience. They trust the group and the process to make a necessary, though not always easily managed, contribution. They know that without it, a genuine conversation never takes place.

So that wraps up my discussion of Turpin’s core principles. The common theme? By redefining business presentations as Orderly Conversations, the real-life challenges you face and the strategies you need to manage them come into sharper focus.

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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

My boss likes to jump in and take over. It’s embarrassing. What can I do?

May 29, 2012 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Handling Questions, Preparation, Sarah Stocker

The answer to this question has everything to do with your relationship to your boss. You may not be able to do anything about this behavior.

If you feel that you can, talk about it with the boss before your next presentation. Maybe the boss doesn’t realize what s/he is doing. So maybe, in an attempt to keep your presentation focused and on track, you’ll agree to ask for input when you need it. Or the boss will politely ask if it’s all right with you when s/he feels the need to interrupt.

If your boss isn’t satisfied with these options, perhaps you can meet a few days before your presentation and give him/her an overview of what you’ll be discussing. This will let your boss see where you plan to take the conversation and give him/her the opportunity to provide direction in private. Knowing what you’re going to discuss may make it easier for him/her to let you lead the conversation.

All of these solutions would preserve your position as the person in charge of the presentation without eliminating the boss’ input.

By Sarah Stocker, Trainer and Workshop Coordinator at Turpin Communication