Presenting in a group brings its own unique set of challenges, and needs a set of skills that can be difficult to master. You may find yourself presenting as a group when you are pitching your company, taking part in a competition or maybe you are a student presenting group work.
Over the years I have watched hundreds of group presentations at universities around the world. Some of those group presentations have been amazing, some have been terrible.
I wanted to outline 4 key skills that you and your group or team can use to improve your presentations.
Present equally, but differently.
If you are giving a group presentation, its because the audience wants to see, hear, and get to know everybody in the group. So it’s important that you take equal responsibility during the presentation.
In your group, you may have some members with great presentation skills, and some with terrible presentation skills. It may be tempting to let your best presenter do the bulk of the speaking. This can leave other quieter or shyer team members on the sidelines.
Your quiet, shy, or less skilled team mates will already be at a disadvantage, so don’t let them get overshadowed by one or two superstar presenters. Try to make sure everyone in the team presents equally. Give each team member an equal amount of time in the spotlight if you can.
However, you should be clever about how you use your teams different presentation skills. Just because you want everyone to present equally doesn’t mean that you should simply chop your presentation into chunks and give each team member their own chunk. I hate watching presentations where teams say “We took 3 powerpoint slides each” and the team member presents simply because it is their turn.
Let each team member show their contribution to the group, and to the presentation, by letting them take charge of their specialist area. The marketing person should take the marketing section, the finance person should take the budget section, the designer should take the design section.
If you have someone on your team who is afraid to speak, or has a phobia of public speaking, get them involved in another way. Perhaps they pass around a demo unit. Perhaps they use body language to enhance the presentation. Perhaps they draw attention to specific areas of the powerpoint.
Come together during your presentation.
During your group presentation you want to show how well you work as a team. The best groups typically have 3 moments where they show how together they are. These moments appear somewhere near the start of the presentation, somewhere at the end of the presentation, and somewhere random and unexpected.
“Coming Together Moments” are little moments in the presentation where you all do something together. Imagine when the Power Rangers say “It’s Morphin’ time”. It could be as simple as saying your catchphrase, “oooh-ing” at the big reveal, celebrating a moment together, or something even more dramatic.
Great “Coming Together Moments” I have seen in team presentations are:
- The whole team pulled off their jackets to reveal a new logo on their T-shirts.
- A couple presented an elaborate handshake/high five.
- Before a group showed their new video, as they dimmed the lights they revealed dark sunglasses and put them on in synchronisation.
Try to think of some interesting ways your team can show their togetherness 3 times during a presentation.
Interact, don’t take turns presenting.
It may be tempting to break a presentation down into parts, and have the rest of the team stay silent while one person presents their part, and then move on to the next speaker with the next part, and so on. This can lead to a boring and formulaic presentation.
Work on your skills interacting with your other team-mates. Rehearse friendly interruptions. Ask each other questions. Have some good natured back-and-forth conversations. Throw the presentation around to each other.
When this is well rehearsed and well scripted, it keeps the speakers and the audience fully engaged and excited.
Practice presenting “hand offs”
A great skill to practice is how you hand off from one speaker to another. Don’t just finish your line and hope that your team-mate picks up the presentation from where you left off.
Study how great late-night hosts, news anchors and other great presenters pass focus from one presenter to the other.
- “Suzie will tell you more about that in a moment.”
- “Here’s Jim to take us through the numbers.”
- “Thanks for the insight Dave, let’s dive deeper into the numbers.”
A good hand off shows that your team trusts and respects each other. That you are all on the ball, and actively engaging with each other. It is a great skill to use because it also helps the audience remember the speakers names and specialist areas.
Good luck building your group presentation skills.
Master these four key presentation skills as a group and take your pitches, presentations and meetings to the next level. Good luck, and please let us know what you think about these group presentation skills down in the comments below.