Group presentations are not easy, and almost always, some members mess it up. Sometimes presenters become confused about their parts and sometimes, the entire presentation turns out to be boring and dull.
If you want to impress your audience with a fantastic presentation, distinguished communication expert Allison Shapira has explained three commonly practised mistakes in group presentations for you in a Harvard Business Review article.
Avoid these pitfalls at any cost the next time you are part of a presentation team.
Each slide tells the audience different people designed it
So you did your part in the teamwork where everyone participated in designing the presentation slides. So much so that each of your slides has completely different fonts, text styles and images.
In such cases, your audience gets distracted. Also, does your team recite the slide ad verbatim? Never do that!
Presenters talk to each other
Often the presenting teams have no idea who is presenting which part of the slides. So they talk to each other while presenting.
This way you lose your audience's attention and concentration. It could also raise a question about your professionalism.
You are not 'done' yet
Your presentation is over but that does not mean you can start browsing your phone. You are actually still 'on stage' and on camera if it is a virtual presentation. You should actively listen to all of your fellow presenters, even the ones who come after you.
So what can you do to avoid these missteps?
Make an advanced strategy
Allison Shapira said she always asks these questions to the people she teaches, "Who is your audience? What is your goal? And why you?"
For group presentations, it is important to answer these questions and do it together as a team.
"The last question, 'why you?' actually means why do you care? It prompts you to share your own motivations on the topic, helping your team bond as a cohesive unit," Shapira said.
Allison advises to block some time off to prepare as a group.
"Use this time to agree on your audience's level of knowledge about the topic, your specific goal for the presentation, the main message, the general outline and who will present each section before each of you starts writing your individual components. This helps you avoid the last-minute stress trying to fit each of your slides into one cohesive unit."
Remember you are a group and practise accordingly
Allison advises that before each presentation, make time for a complete run-through, with slides.
"Specifically, practise your transitions from one person to the next. Use a timer to ensure you are keeping to the allotted time, or set a realistic time limit based on the format of your meeting, so you ensure plenty of time to field questions. Make time to evaluate the slides together so that the language, font and use of graphics are consistent."
Deliver with confidence and authenticity
When it is time for the group presentation itself, lead with the speaker who best represents your organisation; give junior speakers an opportunity to present in the middle.
This ensures a strong first impression and takes some of the pressure off newer speakers.
When speaking in person, position yourself in a way so that you can refer to the slides but also speak directly to the audience.
Bring your own personality to the presentation. Personal anecdotes that connect to the audience are terrific ways to build trust between them and members of the group presenting, Allison suggests.