Greg Owen-Boger is the Vice President of Turpin Communication, a presentation and facilitation training company in Chicago. He started with Turpin as a cameraman in 1995, and quickly moved on to instructor/coach, and now VP. Trained in management and the performing arts, he brings a diverse set of skills and experience to the organization. Prior to joining Turpin, he was a Project Leader for a boutique consultancy that uses live theatre to initiate the leadership development process. He is a frequent blogger and speaker, and he is the 2015 President of the Association for Talent Development, Chicagoland Chapter.
In this conversation, he discusses his book, The Orderly Conversation that he co-authored with Dale Ludwig.
Geetesh: Compared to other presenters' books, The Orderly Conversation is a book that's not so much about a sequential series of improvement steps one needs to take. Rather, your book is filled with your personal experiences -- and it us these experiences that are valuable since they help others overcome so many problems. Can you share some thoughts about this observation.
Greg:Over 40-plus combined years, Dale and I have worked with people from many different industries and at all levels within their organizations. There is one common theme among them. Through their business communications, they are attempting to get business done; they need to be clear and persuasive so that their listeners buy, agree, align, or learn. This also means that they need to create the conditions for a fruitful and efficient dialogue to take place.
Often the first objective (that of achieving the goal) is missed because of failure on the speaker’s part to manage the give-and-take process. We believe that this happens because business people are using the wrong set of tools to do that work. They’re using an old worn out set of rules and techniques born from speechmaking instead of conversation-making. Once we understood this concept, it changed everything about our work. It changed how we prepare for presentations and how we manage the process including introducing the presentation, using projected slides and handouts, managing (and actually encouraging) interruptions, and so on. The Orderly Conversation is our attempt to redefine business presentations and bring this new thinking to the rest of the world.
Geetesh: How did this book evolve – and what roles did you and your co-author Dale Ludwig play in its creation?
Greg: Originally, I wasn’t going to contribute to the book at all. However, after reading an early draft, I suggested to Dale that it was lacking practical application. In other words, the theory was rock solid, but I doubted whether readers would be able to apply Dale’s recommendations to the variety of situations they face at work. I’m a huge fan of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, in which he uses character and story to bring his leadership concepts to life. We decided to do the same, and since I have a background in theatre and storytelling, it made sense for me to take on this new concept and weave narrative into the text.
To do that, we created eight fictional, yet very real characters. Early on in the writing process, I hung posters of their headshots all around my office. The posters included their character description along with anything else I could think of to make each presenter come to life. For months, I lived with them looking over me as I sat at my desk. Every time a new idea popped into my head, I’d make note of it on their poster.
The result is that each has a variety of strengths and weaknesses. They each work for a different company and have different responsibilities at work. In the story, they are participating in one of our presentation skills workshops. Dale is the lead instructor and I coach them as they work on their next big presentation. Readers tell us that they love this approach because they are able to immerse themselves into the story. They can relate to one or more of the presenters and follow them more closely throughout the book. That is exactly what we set out to achieve, so we feel pretty good about that.
April 2003 | May 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | January 2011 | February 2011 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | April 2012 | May 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 | April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015 | November 2015 | December 2015 | January 2016 | February 2016 | March 2016 | April 2016 | May 2016 | June 2016 | July 2016 | August 2016 | September 2016 | October 2016 | November 2016 | December 2016 | January 2017 | February 2017 | March 2017 |
Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.