I’ve worked with dozens of companies preparing team presentations, sometimes for thought leadership presentations and often for bid presentations. Over the years, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t for team presentations. Here are my must dos for team presentations to be successful.
3 Steps Professionals MUST DO for Team Presentations
- Brainstorm Together – I’ve stated before that you don’t want someone else to write your presentation because it isn’t in your voice, not your expertise, and you don’t prepare for it the same way. This advice extends to team presentations as well.
Some teams will assign one person to create a PowerPoint and have that person email it to the team a few days before the presentation for review. This old school tactic doesn’t work because audiences want more than canned presentations with little thought put into them. Audiences want to get to know the team and they want to see your team’s expertise. Additionally, jumping straight into PowerPoint and skipping your brainstorming means your entire presentation will likely be off the mark and it causes more changes to the PowerPoint later on.
- Practice Together – Some teams will have each presenter work on their respective portion of the team presentation from brainstorming the talking points to the visual aid (PowerPoint) and script. When each team member creates a portion of the presentation isolated in a vacuum, the team presentation lacks the TEAMwork. Instead of the audience seeing a cohesive team, they see multiple disjointed individual presentations.
Once the team sets the presentation thesis and overall talking points, you can divvy up the workload and allow each presenter to flesh out their respective portion of the presentation. The divide and conquer method is a great way to streamline the process, however, the team needs to do multiple walk throughs of the speech together to ensure the presentation flows, that it doesn’t repeat each other, and for the team to get familiar with other team members’ parts.
- Rehearse Together – Besides practicing together, teams need to rehearse together. During the rehearsal, teams should finalize the subtle things like what to wear, where to stand, what to do when not talking, and how to handle Q&A. Many teams fail to prepare for their presentation properly because a senior executive is too experienced to need to practice or rehearse, so they think just showing up to the presentation is enough. Unfortunately, when you don’t practice and rehearse, your audience (the selection committee) is seeing your dress rehearsal.
Additionally, most teams have speakers with a variety of public speaking experience levels so the rehearsal also allows the novice speakers to get more practice, reduce their anxiety, and to learn from the experienced presenters. Furthermore, it allows the entire team to work out the kinks because bumping into each other, awkwardly exchanging the presentation remote, and repeating content are all tell tale signs to the audience that your team didn’t prepare well and doesn’t respect their time.
Now, these tips may sound trite and elementary, but nearly every failed team presentation that I’ve debriefed fails because of one or more of these elementary steps. That’s why I consider them all must dos for team presentations. Don’t let a busy schedule or distance between team members prevent your team from properly preparing because it can cost you a lot. (If distance is a problem, just video conferencing. I coach most of my clients via Skype, even if they’re local.)
Another tip – arrive together. I’ve seen teams lose multi-million dollar bids because the team met for the first time in the lobby. Simply meeting down the street and walking in together shows unity and removes the doubt that your team isn’t a cohesive unit for your audience, in the case of bid presentations, the selection committee who is trying to reduce their risk.
Read my other team presentation blog posts.
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How Speak Simple Can Help You
Win more work, increasing your billing rate, and prospects coming to you are all results of being an excellent presenter. Erica Olson created Speak Simple to help technical professionals to become comfortable presenting and excel at each presentation, whether a bid presentation or an educational, content marketing presentation. Learn more about Speak Simple’s flagship program is SpeakU, a self-guided presentation training program.