Team presenting is full of potential pitfalls

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2 December 2015
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon

The day’s finally arrived. You’re on second. But your colleague who’s on before you is stealing all your lines! And you end up repeating what’s been said because there’s no time to make changes.

At best it’s embarrassing. At worst it seems like you don’t know what you’re doing. To avoid failure follow these steps to success when presenting in a team:  

Contact the rest of the team well in advance

Make sure everyone takes equal responsibility for producing a great result and each person is clear about the part they are to play. Agree what the key messages are overall and how each person will contribute to them. Effective communication at this stage will ensure there’s no duplication of content. 

Elect a leader

The leader will introduce your organisation and then the members of the team. They will open the presentation – explaining the purpose of the session as well as who will talk about what – and sum up at the end. They also often play a traditional leadership role in gaining agreement over who does what and motivating the team. 

Aim to make an impact

Think about the impression you want to make on your audience. Take account of individual styles and how they complement or contrast with each other. Be clear about how you want to come across as a team. 

Plan your transitions

When you transfer between presenters the outgoing speaker should summarise their part of the presentation and introduce the next person, stating briefly what they will be talking about. The incoming presenter thanks the previous speaker and then elaborates on what they’re about to talk about. The final presenter – often the leader – summarises the whole presentation. 

Create a plan for handling questions

Decide in advance who will answer questions on each topic. This will often be linked to the session each person has delivered. The leader will usually field the questions and pass them on to the relevant team member to answer. Planning ahead means avoiding a ‘free for all’ and giving an impression of uncertainty or even chaos. 

Decide what to wear

This might seem like a small thing but it’s all too easy for women in particular to arrive only to find a co-presenter wearing a colour that clashes when they stand next to each other for the question session. For same reason it’s a good idea to find out the background colour of the stage setting. 

rehearse your presentation

Practising as a group is essential so you can iron out any problems relating to the structure of the presentation or the transition between speakers. It can take courage to rehearse together but it will pay dividends when you do.

Be aware of your body language at all times

Be attentive when others are speaking. The audience will be watching you as well as the presenter. Don’t fidget or look bored or distracted. 

Work as a team to create positive impact

Have a clear idea of exactly what each person will do throughout the planning, preparation and delivery stages.

When you’re working towards a common purpose and aim to achieve a seamless end result you’re more likely to achieve success.