Tips for Team Presentations
Team presentations are common in business. Your manager may ask you and your team to present your work to an executive team. You may be part of a multi-functional team pitching a proposal to a client. Presenting as team can be less stressful because your team can back you up if your audience asks a question you cannot answer or becomes difficult to manage. However, team presentations often need more preparation and additional delivery strategies. Here are some best practices to make your team presentation a success.
- Begin by using the Communication Development Process to analyze the target audience and define the purpose/desired outcome of the presentation. Make sure you all agree on these goals up front.
- Agree on the key messages and structure needed to support the purpose.
- Agree on a strategy for presenting the major elements of the presentation: the intro, the body and the conclusion. Within the body, who will present each of the key points? Agree on how much time you will spend on each section.
- Avoid switching presenters too frequently. It makes the presentation sound less cohesive.
- Rehearse the delivery. Pay attention to details like: What you will say to hand off to each other? Who will advance the slides?
- Plan your strategy for managing the Q&A. Here are three options: (1) One person directs the questions to the appropriate team member. (2) Team members respond to questions related to their assigned topic areas. (3) Assign an order for answering questions – rotate according to that order.
- If you are presenting online assign one team member to monitor the chat for your team. With everyone focusing on their roles in the presentation, it is easy to miss incoming questions from your audience.
- IMPORTANT: Learn the entire presentation. Even if you are assigned to present a specific section, you should know it all. Team members get sick at the last minute. Your partner can be pulled in to support another project in case of an emergency. Plan to present together. Be prepared to present alone.
- BRIEFLY introduce the team. It usually works best for one member to introduce everyone rather than have each member introduce themselves.
- Arrive early to set things up, test out the room, and decide where everyone will sit or stand. If presenting virtually, try to test the technology.
- Everyone should look engaged and supportive – even when you’re not speaking. Consider your facial expression and body language. And avoid looking at your notes as you anticipate your turn to speak.
- When presenting online, keep your microphone on while your group is speaking. This means you’ll be ready to jump in on short notice if a question arises. You also won’t risk forgetting to unmute yourself when it’s your turn to speak.
- Avoid jumping in with additional points you think the speaker forgot to Jumping in like this should only occur if the missed point is critical to understanding the message.
- During the Q&A, if someone cannot answer a question, do help answer it. But avoid interrupting or talking over other speakers. If possible, get “permission” via eye contact to jump in. It could be your teammate is just pausing to think about their answer before responding.
Presenting with Slides
- Agree on a common look and feel for the slides. You want a unified color scheme, consistent fonts, a coherent layout, etc.
- Assign slide creation. Typically, whoever presents should create the slide. It is easier to present your own work.
- Combine the slides and walk through the deck as a team, focusing on cohesion: Does the presentation concisely accomplish the purpose? Does the message flow fluently and logically? Did you address all key points at the same level of detail? If not, is there a good reason for covering them differently?