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The Orderly Conversation

Business Presentations Redefined

By Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
10-minute read
Audio available
The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger

The Orderly Conversation (2014) is a guide to designing, preparing and delivering a killer presentation. These blinks explain why making a speech is different from presenting in a business context, and why strong presentations are just like a good conversation.

  • Managers, coaches and lecturers hoping to improve their presentation skills
  • Every employee or student who wants to nail a presentation at work or school

Dale Ludwig is the founder and president of Turpin Communication, which helps people develop the skills and proficiency to excel in presenting. He holds a PhD in communication and has been a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Greg Owen-Boger is the vice president of Turpin Communication. His diverse background includes experience in management and the performing arts. In addition to his day job, he is a frequent blogger.

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The Orderly Conversation

Business Presentations Redefined

By Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger
Synopsis

The Orderly Conversation (2014) is a guide to designing, preparing and delivering a killer presentation. These blinks explain why making a speech is different from presenting in a business context, and why strong presentations are just like a good conversation.

Key idea 1 of 6

A great presentation is a conversation, not a performance.

At one point or another, most of us will find ourselves in front of an audience, giving a presentation. But whether it’s a sales pitch or a project overview, there’s a big difference between a presentation and a performance.

A performance is much like a speech in that it’s scripted and pre-written. It’s carefully put together, rehearsed and totally controlled by the performer. For instance, when an actor gives a performance, he detaches his world from that of his audience, essentially putting up a wall that distinguishes between the performance and the real world.

So, while the last scene of Romeo and Juliet might be utterly convincing, the audience feels no cause for alarm when the actress playing Juliet commits suicide. And just like an actor, when a person gives a speech, he’s performing; his words are scripted and prepared, and the audience is well aware of this.

On the other hand, a presentation is unpredictable as there is a constant exchange between the presenter and his audience. In fact, this interplay is essential to bringing the presentation to life, capturing the interest of the audience and fostering a learning environment. There can’t be any wall between the presenter and the audience; as such, a presentation is less like a performance and more like a conversation.

But it’s not just any conversation. A presentation is an orderly conversation, because conversations can easily get off topic and stray in unproductive directions. So, for a presentation to stay on topic it needs some structure – a framework it can follow while maintaining some spontaneity.

This is a bit tricky because it means that as a presenter, you have to speak with a plan in mind, while also responding to changes and adapting to the uncertain trajectory of your presentation.

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