Team Talk. How to get the Best out of a Group Presentation

Posted by martin.parnell |

Occasionally, I am asked to make a presentation as part of a team. This can be a challenge, especially if you do not know the other presenters and your time to meet up beforehand is limited. This is when Skype and conference-calling come into their own.

Ideally, though, all parties would be able to make time to get together before the event. Things are a little easier if you are asked to present alongside colleagues, especially if you are already part of a team. However, for some people, this can still be somewhat daunting.

Therefore I have turned to a couple of experts to give some valuable advice. Every week, I receive a free weekly ezine from The Media Coach, Alan, Stevens. Alan is a highly -respected Speaker and media consultant, based in the UK.

I’d like to share with you some of his thoughts under the heading:  PLAYING AS A TEAM:

“Sometimes, you need to make a team presentation. You may be pitching for business, talking to shareholders, or explaining a new development to residents. The rules of presenting still apply to the person who is speaking, but there is now more to consider. For example, who will be presenting? In what sequence? How will transitions be made? Will you have a facilitator?

As always, it comes down to good preparation. One person should take charge of the planning and co-ordination, and ensure that the whole team understands what will happen. Ideally, the separate presentations should fit together to form a coherent message. That will probably require several rehearsals, for both words and visual aids (if used).

Even the staging is important, and whether the whole team will be on-stage together, or appear one at a time. In the latter case, remember to practice the changeover, particularly if microphones are involved. Never, ever, try to switch from one laptop to another - something will go wrong, leading to embarrassed asides to the audience. If you are on stage together, remember that you are all on display at all times, so show your respect and attention to the person speaking. I once saw a pitch ruined by a two team members who clearly had a private joke running about another speaker’s style of delivery. They lost the pitch, of course.

Obviously, it’s all about good teamwork. If you are going to win people to your point of view, you need to be at your best, at all times. Plan, prepare and practice.”

In her article posted on,  entitled 6 Tips for Presenting With a Team, As A Team, Lisa B. Marshall explains that there can be benefits to presenting as a team   “You’re not alone! Someone can come to your rescue, if you need it. Teammates also can contribute their unique perspectives and experiences which adds dimension to a presentation.”

Marshall suggests some tips and techniques to incorporate, if you are aiming to deliver an unforgettable presentation:

1) Mutual Understanding

Often when working in teams, the presentation material is divided into small sections and distributed among members. Then everyone runs off and only learns their required area.

For a presentation to be really professional, everyone should understand all of the material, possibly even be able to present all of the material. Take the time to make sure each group member has a solid grasp of the subject and material.

2) Use the PEP Model

The PEP model (Point, Evidence, Point) teaches speakers how to support their ideas and make their points interesting and credible. Whenever you make a point, you should also provide evidence (such as an analogy, story, comparison or example) for that point. Then make the point again, but using different words.

To use the PEP model in a team presentation you divide the P-E-P. The first (or main) speaker makes a point, a different speaker provides evidence, and the first speaker summarizes the point again.

3) Know your Role

Before you present, make sure everyone is clear about their role. Will you present together? Will you take turns as lead speaker? How will you transition from speaker to speaker?

It doesn’t matter what you decide, but you need to decide ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to mark who is supported to be speaking in your presentation notes.

4) Practice…and Practice Again.

Practice early and practice a lot! You’ll want to practice two, maybe even three times more than you would if you were giving a presentation alone. Every member should at least understand all of the material – and that takes time!

5) Be Supportive

Remember, you’re in this as a team, as equals. This is not a competition between you and your co-presenter, it’s a collaboration. When your partner is speaking you should give him or her your full attention. Listen actively to what is being said. If they say something funny, then laugh; in fact, laugh generously. And if a teammate makes an important point, you can nod your head slightly in agreement.

6) Tackling the Q&A – Together

Try to distribute the questions evenly so all presenters have an opportunity to provide an answer. If the audience is favouring one person, the favoured partner should include the others by redirecting questions. “Tim, what you do think about that?”

The opposite also needs to be considered. If one member of the team is having difficulty providing an answer, the other team members should lend a hand – or in this case, a voice.”

So it is clear that, when asked to present as a team, preparation is key, especially defining roles and having the ability to adapt to your audience.

If you follow all the advice given here, I’ve no doubt your team presentation will be professional and well-received.

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