We’ve all seen it or experienced it firsthand: The PowerPoint slide is out of sync with the information being given, a team member appears to be confused when it’s his turn to speak, another rolls her eyes at an inappropriate time, and your lead speaker fumbles with his notes as if seeing them for the first time.
This is anything but amusing when you’re part of a team presentation disaster. Not only could you lose a potential client or look bad in front of others, your professional reputation could take a hit as well.
With a group presentation, you’re only as strong as your weakest link—and failing to prepare as a team can produce disastrous results. Setting clear goals and having sufficient preparation can help you avoid many of the pitfalls associated with these types of presentations. Here’s what to do:
Practice together. If at all possible, meet in person to plan and prepare as a team—especially if you will be delivering your presentation in person. A few preparatory meetings via teleconference are a great idea, but they cannot replace the importance of a physical dress rehearsal.
Select a leader. This person can take the lead in motivating the team or gaining agreement over who will do what during your presentation. He or she also can be the leader or lead facilitator during the actual meeting.
Establish the purpose, roles and expectations for the team. Decide the main points you want to make. Get a clear idea of exactly what each person will do at each stage of the preparation and the presentation. Choose the best people to explain and reinforce the main points, and determine how you will work together to express these points.
Analyze the audience. Identify your audience and figure out their wants, interests and needs. Build your presentation around the topics you have identified. By analyzing your audience, you will help define the theme of the presentation and how best to deliver your points.
Determine visual factors. In many respects, the visual message you send is even more important in a team presentation than when you’re going solo. Although dress is important and everyone should dress in a similar way, visual factors also can include:
These factors can have a dramatic effect on the consistency and organization of your presentation. If you are relying on PowerPoint, the slides should reflect a consistent message and visuals as the other parts of your presentation. Avoid knitting together separate documents or slide shows as this will convey haphazard preparation.
For more tips on giving a good presentation—and avoiding pitfalls—check out this blog post from Dardis Communications.