Making a presentation can feel like a lonely task as you stand up and face your audience. Whether you sink or swim all depends on your performance – and of course that depends on how well prepared you are. There are times when you may have to give a presentation as part of a team e.g. pitching for a contract. This can be a daunting prospect too as you have to rely on other people and you may feel anxious about loss of control.
As a presentation team you need to work together closely to achieve your desired outcome. The first step is to decide who should be in the team, who should lead and what each person should be responsible for.
If possible, plan and structure your content so that the audience benefits from contrast and variety. For example, if one speaker presents a lot of facts and figures; the next could follow with some colourful images. Similarly, you can alternate the voices or characters by perhaps having a serious personality followed by a more light-hearted one. Again this helps keep your audience engaged.
Rehearsals are always important and particularly so for team presentations as there is more chance things could fall apart. It’s about working together, deciding on the best ‘batting order’, making improvements to content etc. It is especially important to rehearse handovers from one presenter to another. These are the things that demonstrate to the audience that you are well organised, confident and truly a team – not just a group of individuals.
Here is an example of a smooth handover:
Jack: “I’ll now hand you over to Jill who will explain the steps involved in the design process.”
Jill: “Thanks Jack. (Then to the audience) I’d like to spend the next 10 minutes or so talking you through how we will…………….”
Ten tips for being an effective team on the day
- Arrive early and allow plenty of time for set up.
- Agree who will sit where and what works best for the available space.
- Be supportive and encouraging towards colleagues who are particularly nervous about presenting.
- Have a strong leader to kick off the presentation effectively and to move things along.
- When they are not presenting, the rest of the team should support their colleague by paying attention and looking involved in what is being said.
- Show some appropriate reactions e.g. nodding or smiling at certain points – even if you’ve heard the presentation numerous times already!
- Remember the impression you create with the audience counts for a great deal.
- Glance at the audience now and again to show you are in touch with them. You might pick up on some reactions or vibes too.
- Never shuffle through your own notes while your colleague is talking.
- Demonstrate a united front and back each other up throughout and especially at question time.
In conclusion, giving a team presentation can be a very rewarding experience. It all depends on teamwork and making sure you have all your ducks in a row.
Click here to read one of my previous posts on How to deal with audience questions.