You can’t believe you did it!
Because of your networking skills, you got your small business on the very short list of companies to pitch their services to a very big business.
You now have to bring a select group of your employees together to make a hot team presentation…Say what? You feel like you can hardly make a speech by yourself far less as part of a team.
Having three or four persons present your case rather than a single person has now become the rule rather than the exception in business. So why are you nervous?
Perhaps because when a business, especially a small one brings a group of their highly skilled professionals together to make a team presentation, the stakes are usually equally high.
Therefore, what is required, more than actual speaking skill, is leadership skill. That talent must now be coordinated to speak with one voice. Your business’ voice.
How would you feel if you could make the best presentation and win the contract?
This is where you get lucky. You have access to my over 25 years of speaking experience to help you pull off your best team presentation. Ever!
Here are the steps you can begin using right away…
BEFORE you make your team presentation:
Decide who will be on the team and why
This seems so obvious that it's not worth mentioning. Think again!
I’ve seen leaders select people to be part of a team making an important presentation just to “give them a chance to shine” or because “I’m comfortable with him”.
It is true that Camille needs to get out of her shell and Ryan is easy to get along with. But does that qualify them to be on the team making a presentation to the Ministry of Energy on the new solar plant?
Appoint a leader to coordinate the whole thing
You might not believe this after watching several team presentations but there is really more to presenting as a team than each person standing up and speaking.
Even before you get there, you must know:
- The objective and overall theme of the presentation
- Which persuasion strategy you will be using
- What data and how much goes into the presentation
- Who will be responsible for what, e.g. visual aids
- Coordinating the practice sessions
- The order of speeches on the day and any other roles of the speakers
- Other details which are specific to the nature of the presentation
If a single person does not assume responsibility for these areas, your team will waste a lot of time either arguing or duplicating effort, instead of focusing on the case that has to be built and presented.
And guess what? Just because you own the business does not mean you’re the best person to do this, especially if you’re part of the team presentation.
Know and plan to exploit the strengths of the team
In a team presentation, each member is required to handle that aspect of the topic where s/he has knowledge and experience.
But remember, a team presentation is still a public speaking activity, so you want to make a big impact on your audience. Therefore, knowledge and experience must be balanced by the speaking skills of the various speakers.
The next 3 steps will help with this...
Know your audience
Usually, when you’re making a team presentation, the stakes are very high. With so much at stake, knowing your audience is mission critical.
Therefore, you need to collect some serious intelligence. At minimum this should include the person or persons you will be pitching to, the level of their decision-making and their requirements for detail.
Even when I make a one-woman pitch for business, this is where I start my audience analysis.
Plan the details of the actual presentation
This is a very important step. If you plan these details before, on the big day, you just have to execute…well almost.
In planning, please try to cover:
- How you will make the best use of the available time
- The way you will structure your presentation
- How you will create influence with your presentation
- The order of your speeches and what each will cover
- Who will be the lead speaker on the day
- When and how you will practice
Practice! You hear me, Practice!
Have a minimum of three practice sessions. Know who will be doing the main introductions and who will be summarising. Practice your transitions and practice with your visual aids.
Of course you will practice before a critical audience who can give you the feedback you’re looking for.
During the presentation:
Implement the structure you planned
In a good structure, your lead speaker will begin with a brief introduction of your team and follow this with your big idea for solving the problem or meeting the need. Be sure to include the benefits for the clients.
Then each speaker will follow in the order which was planned, each one stressing the benefits of their aspect of the offering.
Keep the presentation flowing
Even though your team presentation has more than one speaker, don’t make the audience wait between speakers.
The best way to make your presentation flow is to copy all your presentations on to one flash drive in the order they will be presented.
Another good approach is to place each presentation in one file, separated by a blank slide.
Be a good team player even when you’re not speaking
When other team members are speaking, give them your full attention. This might be difficult especially if you’re nervous because you will feel the urge to read over notes or whisper to the other members.
Instead, stay interested and alert. Listen attentively, smile and laugh at their humour and behave as you would want them to respond when you’re speaking.
Remember, your audience is judging you as a team.
Answer questions effectively
Keep it together now. This is where many team presentations fall apart.
The leader should clarify the questions and then assign them to the team member who can provide the best response.
Furthermore, in your planning and practicing, supported by your audience analysis you should have come up with some questions your audience is likely to ask.
Wrap up your entire team presentation professionally
This is where your lead speaker takes over again to restate your big idea, remind the potential client of the key benefits and then deliver your CTA.
Yes, your Call To Action. Tell your potential client what you want them to do, now that your team has so properly built your case.
You need to be sure of what you want and ask for it confidently. That’s why you start and end with your best speaker.
After the presentation:
Review your entire presentation process
You will realise that even though you have done many speeches on your own, speaking as part of a team is well, as they say, a whole new ball game.
When you review, check for your strengths and weakness, not only in the speeches but in the entire process. Tighten up those weak areas because you will be doing it again. And again.
And don’t forget to celebrate that you made it through your team presentation…like pros!
Your next move…
You now have the steps you need to help you the next time you have to pull together a team to present your business case.
If you’re just a little bit like me, you’d realise that steps aside, you best bet for success is for you and your team to have great speaking skills…
f you are located anywhere in the Caribbean, do contact me, I’d be really happy to provide public speaking training for you and the rest of your employees.
Contact me soon, won’t you…