What Everyone Ought to Know About Delivering Team Presentations

I’ve written a lot about how important it is for presenters to initiate and manage a genuine conversation with their audiences—how it’s the presenter’s responsibility to focus on making listening and understanding easy for everyone.

But what if there is a team involved? What are the challenges unique to that situation?

Features of a Successful Team Presentation

Every Team Member Needs to Be Engaged

Let’s say you’re a member of a team that delivers research to the executives in your organization. Or maybe several people in your organization deliver sales pitches to potential clients as a team. How do the requirements for a successful presentation change when there are other people involved?

The answer is that every team member needs to be engaged, whether you’re speaking or not. Success requires not only being attentive but appearing attentive as well.

Being attentive is important for these reasons:

  1. You need to follow the conversation closely in order to fit the information you’re delivering into the conversation that is actually taking place.
  2. That means you need to connect dots to what has been said and what will be said.
  3. You also need to support others on the team in case they need your input or help, especially when questions are asked.

Appearing attentive is also necessary because doing otherwise undermines the cohesiveness of the team and distracts the audience. 

Every Team Member Must Appear Interested

Every team member is “presenting” whether they’re speaking or not. That means that everyone on the team should:

  1. Appear genuinely interested in what others are saying—no matter how many times you’ve heard them say it.
  2. Sit up, put down your phone, take notes. Look happy to be there.
  3. During transitions, treat other team members with respect. That means you may want to thank them after they’ve passed things over to you. Use their names when referring to what they said before you. Use “we” instead of “I” when appropriate.

All of these behaviors will communicate a positive impression of your team—that you are cooperative, cohesive, and getting along—and that will help the audience stay focused on the message you are communicating.

Every Team Member Must Practice to Deliver a Cohesive Presentation

The most important thing about a cohesive presentation is that it should look like it’s coming from the same person. Every team member must be able to convey the same point of view, and there should be no disconnect among individual team members. A good team presentation needs preparation. Especially if your team presentation involves people from different functional teams—for example, you might need to include an SME, a product manager, an account manager, and maybe a salesperson—you should allow time and preparation to prioritize talking points, adapt presentation styles, and develop team cohesion.

In order to pull this off effectively, every team member must prepare for the presentation.

Here are a few ways of preparing for a cohesive team presentation:

  1. Identify one team member who can coordinate each of the following: building the presentation narrative, identifying timelines, creating slides, and getting everyone together for brainstorming.
  2. Define the ultimate goal of the presentation. It will help in laying out a theme and constructing the overall narrative for the presentation. This will ensure that every team member relays the same message during their portion of the presentation.
  3. Agree on a frame for the presentation that suits its goals and priorities.
  4. Build an outline and a template for creating slides as well. This will bring consistency in slides that each team member creates and will help in building the overall cohesiveness of the presentation.

Wondering if it’s time to provide training for your team? Contact us today.

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About the Author: Dale Ludwig

Dale Ludwig has a Ph.D. in Communication and, prior to Turpin, taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He founded Turpin Communication in 1992 with the mission of providing the best presentation and facilitation skills training available. Since then, he has worked to do just that. In addition to being one of Turpin’s lead instructors, Dale is our Chief Learning Architect when tailoring learning engagements for our clients. He holds a Bates ExPI™ (Executive Presence Index) coaching certification. Dale is a frequent blogger and the co-author of “The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined,” “The Virtual Orderly Conversation,” and Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide to Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning,” all written with Turpin’s VP, Greg Owen-Boger.

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