Issues with group presentations are often a chaotic mix of styles, and a mismatch of messages and slides which act as notes rather than reinforce the message.
Group presentations are often done poorly. The problem is often a combination of poor planning and coordination between group members and a fear of public speaking. Have each speaker plan their speech before you build the first slide; your slides should augment the presentation not be the presentation.
1. Get on the same page:
- Message. As teams you need to take the time to discuss the message you want to deliver, as well as the key findings/conclusions to ensure a unified and complete view of the project. The goal is not to show how much you know – it is to concisely and briefly deliver key points, insights and conclusions.
- Ownership. Decide who will take ownership of the final presentation, especially amongst colleagues or peers. Decide who will build slides for each section. Discuss how many slides or how much time each person has for their sections and who who will present which slides.
- Style template. Decide on a congruent look and feel before you build your slides. Creating a congruent look and feel helps make the presentation look professional. Creating a style template also reduces the effort required to integrate all of the slides later on. For example, font, colours, look and feel.
- Handout. Always have a hard copy of everything. This is essential if technology fails, the room setup changes, you lose the meeting room you’re supposed to be in, or if the presentation changes into a briefing.
- Time management. Always allow a little leeway, it always takes more time to deliver a message to an audience than to say it out loud to yourself.
- Keep your slide deck simple and on point. Make every slide count.
- Pick one person to build the presentation, this allows you to standardise on graphics and fonts. Nothing is worse than a disjointed presentation using materials that don’t flow and look like they were created at the last minute.
- Stick to one key idea/point per slide (If you need to use slides at all.)
- A high resolution image, with a short heading is most effective (bullet points kills audience attention)
- When you speak fill in all of the words from your speech that are not on the slides.
- Create time to integrate all of the slides before the presentation. The integration process usually takes longer than you think it is often best handled by one person to ensure style and look congruency.
- Print your slides with notes and practice delivering these points until you don’t need the notes.
- Create introductions and transitions between speakers.
- Elect a team leader who handles introductions.
- Coordinate the slide advancement and handover of the remote before the presentation, not during.
Many great group presentations fall down over a poorly handled Question and Answer session. Try the following:
- Have someone specific be the question moderator. They should restate/clarify the question and then direct it to the appropriate member of the team.
- If you don’t know the answer, do not make it up. Develop the habit of saying, “I’m not certain, but that is an important question that I would love to look into for you.”
- Keep your answers brief. Resist the urge to share everything you know.
- The moderator should sense when the question is answered/over and move on.
- No need to get defensive with an audience member that disagrees. It’s OK to agree to disagree.
- Use these additional Q & A tips
The group leader should close the group’s presentation, thank the audience and transition to the next group. Craft a powerful ending with a call to action. Far too many groups end with “that’s all” or Thanks”. Rehearse the presentation together as a team in order to work out transitions, timing, and to ensure you are covering all the appropriate content.
Practise, Practise and Practise a few more times. You should be able to deliver the core of your briefing without having to use your slides as prompts.
Tips for handling Group Presentations
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