Before we dive in and share some tips on effective group presentation methods or skills it’s worth highlighting some of the reasons why we should even consider delivering a presentation as a group or team.
The motivation, or justification, for doing so could be:
- Showcasing expertise – to showcase different people’s expertise as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
- Meeting the team – increasingly in new business/pitch situations, clients and customers want to see, and hear from, ‘the team’ – those who will actually be looking after their business i.e. those operating at the ‘coalface’. And so having multiple presenters becomes an imperative.
- Maintaining energy, engagement & attention – breaking up longer presentations with different presenters helps to inject energy (much like in a relay race), keep people’s attention and maintain listeners’ engagement. Different people have different personalities and speaking styles and this adds variety – and variety is the spice of life!
So if you think a group presentation is a good idea, what methods should you use to make sure it’s a success? Here are some key considerations.
1. Choose a Team Captain
Having a strong Team Captain is crucial as they will usually start and finish the presentation. The Captain is typically either the most senior person in the group, or the most confident speaker. As part of starting and finishing the presentation the role of the Captain often includes:
- Making sure there is a strong Attention Grab early in the presentation in order to hook the audience from the start.
- Introducing each presenter and their role at the start of the presentation.
- Managing the transitions/handovers between each presenter.
- Fielding questions from the audience on behalf of the team, directing questions to the most relevant speaker as required.
- Summarising next steps or action points after the conclusion to the presentation.
2. Map out a cohesive narrative
In order to ensure a group presentation flows smoothly, the presenters, or team captain, will need to decide in advance how long each speaker should be speaking for (and don’t forget to include time for questions), what the structure of the presentation will be and who will cover what.
SecondNature’s Presentation MapperTM methodology is a great method for achieving this. If you’re not using our Presentation Mapper™ then get together as a team with a stack of A4 paper and, on a large table, storyboard your presentation.
Don’t get bogged down in the details at this stage. Instead, decide collectively what the purpose and end goal of the presentation are, the sections of the presentation (chapters of your story), what the key takeaways for the audience should be, and then roughly the information you want to include. Once you have outlined the storyboard for the presentation you can then discuss how long each section/chapter should be and who will be delivering each element.
Spending a bit of time at the beginning mapping out the narrative will save lots of time at the end of the process because it will ensure there aren’t areas that are needlessly repetitive. And likewise it will mean there aren’t gaping holes in your logic.
3. Appoint your Slide Master
If you’re using slides, nominate someone to be responsible for getting the overall deck into shape – even if the individual speakers are creating their own slides. Having someone to ensure there is a consistent style, look and feel to the text and also to the treatment of images, graphs etc, will ensure the final deck looks carefully crafted and professional.
4. Make time for rehearsals
Setting aside rehearsal time is an absolute must. During the rehearsals you should work out where the presenting team will be seated and/or standing in the room (taking into account where the client/customer might/will be) – when they’re presenting, and also when they aren’t speaking. Think about how you use the room. A great option is to have the Team Captain starting and finishing at the front and centre of the room; with those that are speaking early in the presentation standing front and left of the room; and those that are speaking later, front and right of the room. This is because we read from left to right and this visual positioning will be intuitive for the audience ‘moving through the presentation from start to finish’.
Proper rehearsal time will of course help polish each person’s presentation delivery and confidence.
In addition, make sure you have a compelling and engaging thread that runs throughout the presentation, that the handovers are smooth and that you have your timings down pat. Rehearsal time is also a great opportunity to practise everyone’s Q&A skills.
Final advice on rehearsals – we always recommend that there is someone outside the presentation group to listen to the presentation, from the audience’s perspective, to make sure the narrative is as clear and as tight as possible and the timings are met. Ideally, this should be an experienced presentation skills coach – they will also provide valuable feedback and guidance on each speaker’s presenting style – but it could also be a senior colleague able to give practical feedback without judgment.
5. Preparation on Presentation Day
There’s nothing worse than a rushed set-up for a group presentation. So make sure the technology is tested and ready to go well in advance of the start of the presentation. If the presentation is taking place at someone else’s offices, ask to have access to the meeting room at least 30 minutes before the start to allow for adequate set up time.
Also, if the presentation is taking place in an environment that the team is not familiar with, the presenters should use the set-up time to move around the room so it feels comfortable for them. This includes knowing where the tight spaces are, where power leads are crossing the floor, working out sightlines, getting a feel for the energy in the room, and if there are likely to be any potential distractions e.g. people walking past windows and outside traffic noise.
6. Pay attention to each other
There’s nothing that puts a presenter off more than seeing their own team members look disinterested. So regardless how many times you’ve seen and heard your team-mates present, act as though it’s the very first time, and that their presentation is the best you’ve ever heard. Give them plenty of non-verbal encouragement – smiles, nods, and of course laughter when prompted. How you react to each speaker sets the tone for how your audience will respond to the speaker and his/her information.
7. Making good, better
Most of us don’t make group presentations that often. So a PPR (Post Presentation Review) is a great way to sharpen everyone’s skills ever further. Within 24 hours of a group presentation sit down as a team and discuss what worked well and how could things been improved in terms of:
- The process leading up to the presentation
- Handling of the technology
- The clarity of the message and the flow of the narrative
- The level of detail covered
- Overall and individual timings
- Handovers between speakers
- Management and answering of questions
- Non-verbal support from team members
- People’s individual presenting style and confidence.
Remember, feedback is, as the saying goes, the breakfast of champions!
Improve your group presentations using these useful tips!
So, use these seven effective group presentation methods or skills and you and your team will be on the way to becoming champion presenters.
And, if you’re looking to make your group presentations even more engaging, effective and successful, then look at tailored training to lift your team’s presenting skills. To find out more, click on one of the buttons below:
Follow us on social media for more great presentation tips:
Written By Belinda Huckle
Co-Founder & Managing DirectorRead Bio
Belinda is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of SecondNature International. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training both In-Person and Online, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.
Belinda believes that people don’t have to change who they are to be the presenter they want to be. So she developed a coaching approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.
She has helped to transform the presentation skills of people around the world in an A-Z of organisations including Amazon, BBC, Brother, BT, CocaCola, DHL, EE, ESRI, IpsosMORI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Moonpig, Nationwide, Pfizer, Publicis Groupe, Roche, Savills, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.