Coach Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to Understand Their Dual Role in the Training Room

August 17, 2016 in Greg Owen-Boger, Posts for Buyers, Talent Development, Training, Video

In this video, produced by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), Greg Owen-Boger, Turpin’s VP, discusses why Subject Matter Experts need guidance when asked to step into a training role.

 

“I think the biggest challenge working with subject matter experts in the training room is that they simply don’t understand their dual role. That is, of course, that of Subject Matter Expert, but also that of trainer. And once they understand that there’s a very big difference between the two, and that by wearing the trainer hat they need to provide relevance, context, and on the job application, they’re more likely to succeed. And, ultimately, they need to understand that it’s not enough just to say the words. Those words need to be heard and understood.”

Let’s Get Serious About Live Instructor-led Training

September 8, 2015 in Author, Dale Ludwig, News, Posts for Buyers, Talent Development, The Orderly Conversation, Training

Dale Ludwig, Founder of Turpin Communication and Co-author of The Orderly Conversation was just published in Training Industry Magazine.

Training Industry Magazine article by Dale Ludwig

Here’s an excerpt.

Let’s Get Serious About Live Instructor-led Training

With so many modes of training delivery available to learning and development (L&D) professionals – online, blended, synchronous, asynchronous, mobile – it’s common to ask whether a traditional face-to-face workshop is necessary to meet the needs of the business. In many cases, it’s not. When it is, though, we have a responsibility to make this mode of delivery worth the investment in time and resources.

To that end, training professionals spend a lot of time thinking about the needs of adult learners. What some of them do not fully take into account, though, is that the adults with whom they work are not merely “adults.” They are Busy People at Work.

Busy People Work - Turpin CommunicationThese learners have unique perspectives and specific needs. Unlike adults in non-business learning environments, they view training as a job responsibility, important for their work and their advancement, and are very busy. Time spent in training is time away from their regular responsibilities. Understanding and empathy for this type of learner must be the driving forces behind training design and delivery. When they are, trainers earn the trust and good will of their learners. Without trust and good will, learners check out of the process.

 

The article goes on to discuss five key concepts for designing and delivering training for Busy People at Work.

  1. Make it a conversation.
  2. Plan to succeed on two levels.
  3. Frame the conversation.
  4. Be engaged and responsive.
  5. Don’t let activities destroy good will.

Read the full article, found on page 21, here.

[Tweet “Successful trainers understand that learners are Busy People at Work. @TrainingIndustr “]

When presenting, people ask me to skip to the end. What should I do?

July 5, 2011 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Mary Clare Healy, Practice Does Not Make Perfect, Video

greg 200x300A lot of business presenters we work with feel frustrated (and sometimes threatened) when listeners ask them to skip to the end of their presentation.

If you think of your presentation as a one-sided information push that only you control, you would be frustrated by this too.

But… if you know anything about the work we do at Turpin Communication, you’d know that we advocate for flexibility.

Presentations should not be about (a) you the presenter or (b) your information. They should be about (a) the listeners and (b) making sure that they understand the meaning behind your information.

This requires the ability to remain flexible and to shift your focus away from yourself and toward your listeners.

So… keep the end goal in mind, give them what they need and provide back-up information only if they ask for it.

My colleague, Mary Clare Healy, addresses this issue differently in this video blog.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Argh! The executives are only interested in the bottom line.

June 14, 2011 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Managing the Orderly Conversation, Video

“But I have more to tell you,” you think to yourself as you pack up your presentation stuff and head back to your desk.

Of course you have more to tell them. You’re the expert. You know a lot.

That’s why the executives need you.

But they do not need to know all the details and thinking behind your conclusions. You find the details fascinating. They don’t. They rely on you to be fascinated. They also rely on you to be clear and concise when presenting to them.

So… If all they want is the bottom line, give it to them. And back up your conclusion with reference material that they can review if/when they need it.

Keep in mind, your job as presenter is not to tell them everything you know. Nor is your job to defend your brilliance or expertise. Your job is to give them what they need to know in order to make informed decisions.

This is not easy, but it’s necessary.

In this video blog, Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication, discusses this in more detail.

What are your thoughts?

Training and Presenting in a Virtual World: Turpin Communication’s Top 10 List of Best Practices (a Year in the Making)

December 22, 2010 in Author, Delivery, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Training, Video, Virtual

greg 200x300As I look back at 2010 I realize that we spent a lot of time presenting and training in a virtual environment. We also produced a lot of training videos for ourselves, partners and clients.

For better or worse, it looks like webinars, video conferences and online training videos aren’t going away any time soon, so we might as well figure out how to present information effectively using them. All year my colleagues and I have been compiling some best practices. Here are 10 of them, 5 for presenting in a webinar format and 5 for using video conferencing.

Presenting Virtually

The biggest issue we see when it comes to presenting virtually is the challenge of keeping listeners engaged. Here are 5 suggestions.

  1. Create Compelling & Relevant Content
    I know this sounds obvious, but engaging participants in a virtual environment starts with your content. Too many times I’ve participated in webinars in which the speakers had nothing new or interesting to say. Participants in virtual events are a very (VERY) distracted bunch; don’t give them another reason to tune you out. Keep your content focused on their wants and needs, connect dots by reinforcing the application and relevance to their lives, and keep things concise.
  2. Do Not Read from a Script
    If people sense that you are scripted they’ll tune out very quickly. Instead, make it feel like a conversation. Each person should feel as if you’re speaking directly to him/her. Our recommendation for doing this is to have a second person in the room with you and speak directly to him/her. They will react, and when they do, you should respond accordingly just like you would in everyday conversation. Using this technique, your intonation will sound natural and interesting to virtual attendees.
  3. Include Multiple Speakers
    I’m more inclined to stay engaged when there is more than one speaker. It’s more interesting to listen to multiple voices with (perhaps) differing points of view. If you can include multiple speakers we recommend it. Just assign who will deliver what prior to going live.
  4. Being Interactive Does Not Equal Being Engaged
    Don’t confuse the “engagement tools” included in the event platform software with human engagement techniques. Using these tools does very little to engage people, but they do a lot to keep people active. So, think of the polling, hand-raising and chat features as “interaction” tools. The creators of these tools recommend using one every few minutes. That advice is silly and unhelpful. Do not use them just for the sake of using them. People are sophisticated and do not endure being hoodwinked for long. Instead (a) use one when it will genuinely help move things forward and (b) do your best to keep things relevant and engage your listeners in the conversation.
  5. Give Them Time
    When you use a poll or some other interaction tool, give participants time to complete the task. I find it irritating when presenters end a poll before I have time to thoughtfully respond. My recommendation is to set up the poll clearly and tell people how much time you’ll give them to respond. “You have 60 seconds to respond.” Then count it down for them. “30 seconds remain… 10 seconds… and the poll is now… closed.” This technique will give you the urgency you want so that people will participate, but still give them an appropriate window of time to complete the task.

There are, of course, other recommendations for conducting virtual sessions, but those are our top five.

Presenting Via Video

Now let’s discuss best practices for presenting using video. We’ve broken it down into two sub-groups: prerecorded video and synchronous video conferencing

Prerecorded Online Video (tutorials, eLearning, sales pitches, etc.)
While not an official part of our top 10 list, our thoughts for effectively recording a presentation on video are worth noting.

Earlier in the year we were contacted by Mike Grosso and David Tyner at KinetiCast. Their service allows sales people to create very quick video-based presentations that help move the sales process forward. They had seen some of our eLearning videos, and asked us to provide them with some how-to videos for their customers. Here’s a link to those how-to presentations using KinetiCast’s system. (You’ll be asked for your name and email. Don’t worry. We don’t sell anyone’s information.) While these how-to videos are focused on using the KinetiCast service (which we recommend by the way), the techniques for engaging viewers through the camera’s lens, being concise & listener-focused, and producing high-quality video on a budget can easily be transferred to other types of talking-head video creation.

Synchronous Video Conferencing
Video conferencing capability has come a long way, and it’s gaining momentum for becoming a standard delivery technique for meetings, presentations and training. Again, my colleagues and I have been compiling some best practices. Here are 5, which round out our Top 10 list for the year.

  1. Understand Lag and Synch Issues
    It’s important to understand that there may be some lag and that the video and audio may be out of synch. This causes people to unintentionally interrupt and trip over each other. Our recommendation is to be patient with others, and pause before speaking to ensure that the previous speaker was finished. This means that the conversations will be slower paced than face-to-face, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When communicating via one-way radio, it’s common practice to say “over” when you’re done speaking. Perhaps you can implement an equivalent process? This may be particularly useful when there are more than two locations dialing in.
  2. Assign One Person to be the Moderator
    The moderator can be the host or someone else, but make it clear at the beginning of the video conference that this person is in charge. When the discussion gets going and people start tripping over each other, this person should step in and moderate.
  3. Pay Particular Attention to Your Eye Contact
    You should look into the camera’s lens when speaking, not at the person’s eyes as they are projected on the screen or monitor. When you look into the lens, the people you’re speaking to will feel as if you’re looking directly at them. If you look at their projection, you’ll appear as if you’re looking off into space as you speak. This is difficult to do, but once you master it this technique won’t feel so awkward.
  4. Adjust Your Lights
    To the degree possible, adjust lights in your room so that your face can be seen on video. In general you want more light in front of you shining on your face and less light behind you.
  5. Don’t Yell
    I’m not sure why people do this, but they tend to raise their voices when on a video conference. Speak in your normal tone and in the general direction of the microphone. Check in with people, especially at the beginning, to set or correct your volume level.

So there you have it: a year’s worth of best practices for presenting and training in a virtual world. Have thoughts of your own? We’d love to hear them.

From all of us at Turpin Communication, have a wonderful New Year.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Take Your Presentations to the Next Level in 2011

December 1, 2010 in Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, News, Preparation, Sarah Stocker

Take your presentations (or your team’s) to the next level by participating in a highly interactive 2-day presentation skills workshop in Chicago presented by Turpin Communication.

2011 Presentation Skills Workshop Dates in Chicago:

  • January 11-12
  • April 12-13
  • July 11-12
  • October 25-26

These sessions are open to the public and are designed for business presenters at all levels. Enrollment is limited to just 8 participants. Each session will be taught by 2 instructors to ensure plenty of personal attention. See below for more information.

Reserve your spot soon because space is limited to just 8 participants. 

Hope to see you in 2011!

Learn More  |  Enroll Now

Course Overview

During this highly interactive workshop, we’ll help you
Find your focus. Be yourself. Only Better.

You’ll capitalize on your strengths and develop the skills you need to overcome your weaknesses. You’ll also learn:

  • How to engage your audience and appear more comfortable
  • How to feel less nervous
  • How to organize your presentations more clearly and efficiently
  • How to improve the design and delivery of your PowerPoint slides
  • How to make sure what you say is actually heard
  • How to manage questions and interruptions during your presentations

Throughout the course, you’ll work on a real-life presentation of your choosing. All exercises are videoed, but your videos aren’t replayed in front of the group. Instead, after the exercise, you’ll watch your video with a coach. This private coaching will provide additional – and very valuable – feedback to help you integrate what you’ve learned in class into the situations you face outside of it.

The course includes 12-month access to eCoach, Turpin’s online skill-reinforcement tool.

Learn More  |  Enroll Now

Partnership Provides How-to Guidance for Online Presentation Tool

November 11, 2010 in Dale Ludwig, News, Video

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Dale Ludwig, President
773-445-8855
dale@turpincommunication.com
www.TurpinCommunication.com

Chicago, Illinois – Nov. 11, 2010 – Turpin Communication, a Chicago-based training company specializing in presentation and facilitation skills development, is partnering with KinetiCast, a provider of online presentation tools for sales professionals. The result is multi-media presentations that are organized and delivered to help businesses increase sales. 

KinetiCast empowers users to create, email and track online presentations that can help qualify prospects, shorten sales cycles and close more deals. For example, a KinetiCast user can email an online presentation, including a personalized video, to potential clients. The presentation would provide details about their services. The video would be used to thank the prospect for their interest and make a special offer.

Turpin is helping KinetiCast users be more effective with a series of “how to” videos, available on the KinetiCast Web site. The three videos explain how to organize presentations for online viewing, how to engage viewers through the lens of a camera, and how to make various media elements work together as a whole. While these videos were developed with KinetiCast’s users in mind, non-users also will find significant value in Turpin’s communication expertise.

“We took on this project because Turpin helps people prepare and deliver all kinds of messages — not just traditional presentations,” said Dale Ludwig, Turpin Communication president. “We are a big fan of the KinetiCast system – we actually use it in our own business. KinetiCast is a great way for business people to connect with clients and potential clients. The videos we created help Kineticast users to be even more effective – they’re concise and packed with useful information.”

“KinetiCast users are going to get significant value from these videos,” said Michael Grosso, President of KinetiCast. “Offering Turpin’s communication expertise along with our online sales presentation tool, sales professionals will get the most from our unique product and be even more effective in their sales efforts.”

The videos can be viewed at: http://www.kineticast.com/turpin.

About Turpin Communication
Turpin Communication has been consulting, coaching and training business people in how to effectively communicate since 1992. Turpin’s goal is to help presenters and group facilitators develop the skills and insight they need to succeed. Turpin delivers corporate and e-learning videos, group workshops to a variety of clients, open-enrollment classes for individuals, and presentation skills training delivered online. www.turpincommunication.com

About KinetiCast
Founded in 2007, KinetiCast is based in New York’s Tech Valley. www.KinetiCast.com

Common Presentation Challenges

October 28, 2010 in Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Myths Debunked, Nervousness, Preparation

Greg Owen-Boger, Vice President of Turpin Communication

In a LinkedIn discussion recently a question came up about the most common challenges facing business presenters.

Many people claimed nervousness, lack of knowledge, unexpected questions, PowerPoint, sentence structure (?) and so on. These are challenges people face, for sure, but these simplistic responses fail to get to the heart of why presenting is so challenging for so many people.

Here’s how I responded:

As a presentation skills trainer/coach, I think one of the most common challenges people face is that they prepare for a speech instead of a presentation. Speeches are scripted, rehearsed and performed. Presentations (which is what most of us deliver day-to-day) need to, of course, be organized well, but they need to be delivered in a flexible, spontaneous, conversational way.

So the challenge I see most is that people know how to prepare for a speech, but they don’t know how to prepare for a presentation. This leads to anxiety, nervousness, analysis paralysis and boring, stiff, unengaging and unsuccessful presentations.

In our work, we help presenters make adjustments to how they think about the process and this makes all the difference.

Faithful readers of this blog know that we consider presentations to be Orderly Conversations. Here are some related articles:

Follow Greg on LinkedIn

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Applying what you Learned in Presentation Skills Class

September 29, 2010 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, FAQs, Preparation

This question was submitted by Nick through our Ask an Expert forum, which all workshop participants have access to after attending one of our workshops.  Since it brings up a common concern, I’ll answer it here on the blog for others to see.

QUESTION:
I recently delivered a presentation and found that I forgot to use many of the lessons I learned in the workshop.  I found myself relying too heavily on my slides and not having a conversation with the audience. This was a bit disappointing because I thought I was making progress since the workshop.  Any suggestions on practicing or creating slides that forces me to be more of the Improviser and not the Writer?

ANSWER:
First, I want to say that it’s really a good thing that you’re more self aware during your presentations.  That’s an important first step.  Of course when we gain self awareness we also gain the knowledge that we don’t always do what we planned to do.  But try not to be disappointed.  You’re on the right track.

That said, let’s take a look at your presentation issues.  Like most people with the Writer Default, you’re struggling with the transition from preparation to delivery.  So, be sure to prepare your slides with delivery in mind.  Create meaningful slide titles that, when read during delivery, will launch the conversation you want to have.  Keep your slides simple and to the point.  That means editing them mercilessly.

Next, don’t practice to come up with the single, perfect explanation.  It will mess you up during delivery.  Instead try to get comfortable explaining your slides in a variety of ways, imagining a variety of listeners.  That will improve flexibility.

When you deliver your slides, give your audience an overview of each, then go into the details.  If the slide has a list of bullet points, read through them.  If the slide has an image or data, tell your listeners what they’re looking at.  This will focus their attention on the screen when the slide first appears.  After the overview, it’s your responsibility to turn back to your audience and continue the conversation.  It’s sort of like show-and-tell because you’re showing people the slide, then talking about what it means.

As you continue to deliver presentations, don’t worry about everything at once.  You’ll overwhelm yourself.  Tackle one issue at a time.  For example, go into your next presentation with the goal of using your slide titles better.  Or remembering to move toward your listeners after you’ve delivered the overview of each slide.  Stay focused on changing one behavior at a time.  Long-term improvement will follow.

To help with that, take advantage of the feedback you received post-workshop through eCoach.  Both the follow-up letter and the video comments available there will help you stay focused.  Our goal with eCoach is to help you prioritize.  Review you follow-up letter before your next presentation.  And be sure to take a look at the video exercises from the second day of class.  That’s when we were working on slide delivery.  Watching them again will remind you of what it felt like to successfully manage your Default Approach.

Thanks for your question.  Let me know how you’re doing.

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

The BEST Way to Start a Presentation

September 15, 2010 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, Facilitation, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Introduction, Myths Debunked, Preparation, Presentation

QUESTION:
According to most public speaking experts, the first 30 seconds of a speech are extremely crucial for the success of a presentation. So, what’s the best way to start a presentation?

ANSWER:
We get this question a lot in our presentation skills workshops.  I also read similar questions on discussion boards on LinkedIn.  Unfortunately on LinkedIn, it seems that everyone’s a presentation expert.  That leads to a lot of bad advice.  No wonder presenters are confused about how to begin.

Typical “expert” responses include:

  • Show a video
  • Ask an open-ended question
  • Ask questions about their day so far
  • Have people introduce themselves to each other

While these ideas – if kept in a business context – aren’t terrible, they’re not enough on their own.  Ideas that are terrible:

Ahhhh… Enough with the gimmicks already
Participants in business presentations are not children.  They are adults who deserve better.

While I’ll agree that the first few moments of a presentation should get you started on the right foot, gimmicks don’t work.  Instead, work to engage your listeners in a meaningful, interesting, relevant dialogue.

Presentations are NOT theatre performances
We need to move away from the idea that a presenter’s job is to entertain or WOW or dazzle. Preparing a whiz-bang attention grabber ahead of time will always seem contrived.  Plus, it ignores the fact that something took place prior to your presentation.  Remember, the curtain isn’t going up.  The spotlights aren’t just now coming on.  When you walk to the front of the room you’re doing so in the context of whatever happened before.  You need to acknowledge that and then move into your presentation.

Presentations ARE Orderly Conversations
Every presenter’s job is to spark a conversation.  If you read this blog regularly, you know that we define presentations as Orderly Conversations.  “Orderly” because they need to be carefully organized and thought through.  “Conversations” because they need to feel spontaneous and interactive right from the start.

So, what IS the best way to start an orderly conversation?
Be in the moment, refer to the listeners’ current situation, and talk about how your presentation is going to address that issue. Examples:

Be in the moment:

  • “It’s been a long day (it’s hot, we’re behind schedule, etc.), so I’ll keep our discussion about X brief.”
  • “John just discussed ABC; I’m going to talk about XYZ.”
  • “Hope you all had a good evening, this morning we’re going to turn our focus toward…”

Refer to their current situation and your response to it:

  • “As we know, sales are sluggish, but today we’re going to talk about a new promotion that will turn things around.”
  • “We’re all busy and most of us feel overwhelmed. I’m here to talk about a new process to ease the pain.”
  • “A lot of discussion has been about X for some time now.  Today we’re going to address the issue so we can move on.”
  • “The bad news is X, the good news is Y, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.”

Give them a reason to listen and participate
Taking this approach with your introduction will give your listeners a reason to participate in the conversation without resorting to manipulation.

What are your thoughts?

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication