As a manager, it’s not just your responsibility to lead and inspire your team, but also to motivate them and help to build camaraderie between them. Great communication skills are essential to your success as a manager, but this relationship is a two-way street. Your team needs to be able to communicate effectively not only with you but also with other employees, stakeholders and clients – and team presentations are an effective way to test their skills.
Building comradeship and unity in a team can be tricky, but having them turn raw data into a compelling narrative with actionable insights is crucial — and team presentations are a shining example of how exactly to achieve this.
When a presentation is split between team members, accountability and responsibility are shared equally, helping to strengthen their bond and build confidence among the more reserved members of the team. As Allison Shapira writes in Harvard Business Review, ‘putting together an effective group presentation takes teamwork and coordination so it doesn’t look like a patchwork quilt.’
With that in mind, we’ve compiled some strategies to help your team to bring out the best in each other during group presentations.
Tips for improving team presentations
1. Agree and stick to a presentation deadline
It’s tempting to keep tweaking and editing the content right up until the day of the presentation, but that time would be better spent practising the delivery, getting comfortable with the environment, and then relaxing — that’s right, encouraging your team to relax beforehand is crucial for success!
They should aim to finalise the content at least three days before the presentation, and even more if possible.
2. Rehearse transitions and choreography
Everyone on the team must know how to move and behave at every stage of the presentation.
The three most important stages are:
- The entrance
How are they going to walk to the presenting area? One by one, or as a group? Who goes first? These are all things that need to be planned out in advance.
- The transition between each speaker
How will they move seamlessly from one point to another? One simple yet very effective technique is to repeat or summarise the point that has just been made and then introduce the next speaker or key point.
- The exit
How will the team leave the presenting area? Don’t risk leaving this part to chance, as a haphazard or clumsy exit can mean the audience remembers the presentation for all the wrong reasons.
3. Stay consistent
Make sure everyone on the team understands the goal of the presentation, not just from the company’s perspective but also from the audience’s point of view.
Why are they here? What do they want to get out of this? It is crucial that each presenter can answer these questions with genuine understanding.
Also, you must ensure that the team uses the same language and terminology throughout, as this will reinforce their messaging and help the audience to see them as a solid unit with one overarching voice.
4. Where to look during team presentations
Make sure each person knows where and how they’re going to stand while other members of the team are speaking.
Will they face the speaker, just like the audience? Or would they prefer to stand at an angle so that they are facing the audience and can gauge their reactions?
There is no right or wrong answer, so let each person do what feels the most natural and comfortable for them – but make sure that all team members know the score beforehand.
5. Link the content in both directions
Encourage your team to refer back to what others have said in the presentation, as well as things that will be said at a later point.
Linking their ideas in this way will enhance the audience’s perception of them as a cohesive unit, and can also build a sense of anticipation.
It also has the added benefit of investing each team member in the other’s areas of expertise – everyone has to know what the rest are conveying before this strategy can work effectively.
6. Deal with mistakes
Mistakes and slip-ups are inevitable — we are all human, after all, and your audience won’t mind the odd mistake. The key to getting back on track quickly is to be prepared and have a plan of action in mind.
How will your team members respond if one of them makes a mistake? Is it better to ignore it or make a point of correcting it?
If they decide to correct it, is it best to do this at that very moment or refer to it later on in the presentation?
These aspects need to be discussed and understood so that mistakes remain just minor errors and don’t taint the rest of the presentation.
Build a cohesive team with NxtGEN Executive Presence
At NxtGEN Executive Presence, we are here to empower managers and team leaders to develop their teams into cohesive units, comprised of individual leaders – capable of persuasion, influencing and, of course, effectively communicating.
Our Executive Presentation Skills training will give you and your team the knowledge and practical experience you need to be world-class communicators, developing your interpersonal and leadership skills as well as your overall executive presence.
In doing so, you will come together as a more confident, knowledgeable group that can consistently meet the expectations of stakeholders and clients alike.