A team presentation can be tricky. So many personalities, mindsets, trains of thought and opinions…it can get messy quickly. But as their leader, it’s up to you to direct the presentation so that it flows as well as if one person were delivering it. That says easy but does hard. To help, here is a list of what I’ve found to be invaluable fundamentals to follow when preparing a group presentation.
Oh man, does this one get put off to the last minute! Ever practice your team presentation on the way to the meeting or in your client’s parking lot? You must insist that your whole team rehearse the presentation at least twice. This will help you fine-tune the flow, make sure everyone is involved and give them confidence that they know the material well.
A good rule of thumb…if someone is in the room but doesn’t have a speaking role in the presentation, they don’t need to be there (unless their role is to take notes!). When organizing your presentation, determine who will deliver each part of the presentation. Assign to their strengths so that they present information they can speak to easily and can answer questions on the fly if needed. Speaking of questions…
Review Possible Questions
Your audience will ask questions, most of which you can anticipate. In your dry runs, have your team consider what questions might get asked and when. You can then determine who will answer certain questions, again playing to the strength of each team member.
Make Each Other Look Good
“I disagree with my teammate.” No you don’t. Ok…maybe you do but not in front a client you don’t! Before the meeting begins, remind your team that you all look bad if anyone of them cannibalizes the others thoughts. Commit to making each other look good.
Establish an Agenda
I’ve written about the importance of a meeting agenda previously. A group presentation can get way off track quickly unless you have a timed agenda. During rehearsal, pay attention to who takes more time than allotted. Work with them to pare down their thoughts so that they don’t usurp the time, forcing others to rush.
Avoid Too Many Participants
While you want to include your whole team, having too many people in the room can a) be hard to control and b) overwhelm your audience. Find out in advance how many client representatives will be there. It’s alright to have more than them…just not too many more. As we stated above, everyone should have a critical role, so that will help you limit participants.
Who is Leading?
While you are the team leader, it doesn’t mean you have to lead the presentation. The meeting leader is responsible for introducing the agenda, keeping everyone on track and being mindful of the timing. If you assign that role to someone else, then you must step back and take on only the role you’ve rehearsed.
Say Only What’s Needed
Too many times, I see people having a need to speak that overshadows whether what they say is important to furthering the conversation. You don’t need to be a “color commentator” like during a football telecast. If what you are about to say doesn’t add more information to what your team just said, keep it to yourself. And that lesson goes for your whole team, too.
Perform a Post-mortem
Reserve time after the presentation to break down what went right, what went wrong and what the next steps will be. If you don’t pre-arrange that time, the freshness of your team’s reactions will be diluted and you will get a much different perspective a day or so later. Do it as soon as you can!
Utilized these fundamentals and you’ll put your team in a winning position for their next presentation. Let me know how it goes! – sg