You’ve been asked to do a group presentation and don’t know where to start. Many group presentations fail because of diffusion of responsibility. You think, “as long is my part is good, I don’t need to think about the rest of the presentation.” You couldn’t be more wrong.
Group presentations are only different from typical, individual public speaking because they are performed by more than one person. They still need to be internally cohesive, include an introduction and conclusion, and have common themes.
Here are 10 lessons learned from a recent group presentation project in my integrated strategic communication class at Queens University of Charlotte.
- Hook the audience at the beginning. Every good speech entices the listener at the beginning of the speech. A group speech is no different. The introduction matters.
- Introduce the team. Somewhere in the introduction, the cast of characters presenting should be introduced.
- Write transitions. Everytime members of the team switch into a speaking role, the speech should include a coordinated transition. Something simple might work: “Next, Emily will discuss the financial piece of this event.” Followed by a quick, “Thanks, Will.”
- Move. The speaker should take center stage or a position in the foreground of the delivery area. Other members should flank the speaker by being visually “behind” the speaker.
- Utilize visual aids well. Look at the audience while presenting, not the visual aid.
- Share the work with visual aids. During a group presentation, the speaker should not be behind a computer or podium. Switch this job to a current non-speaker.
- Build in strategic pauses. Rushing through your thoughts is a bad move in individual speeches, but in group speeches, rushing inspires more rushing. Slow it down. Pause. Don’t try to fill every moment with sound.
- Pay attention to each other. There’s nothing that inspires audience boredom like presenter boredom. If you’re not the speaker, but you’re on the team, at least feign interest. Watch the speaker, respond nonverbally to the speaker. This sets the tone for how your audience will view the speaker and his/her information.
- Conclude the speech. The speech should be tied together at the end with key repetition of ideas and closing remarks. This is your chance to make the speech a cohesive one.
- Practice. Rehearse the speech together at least three times. You should be able to predict the moves of your co-presenters to forgo the awkward stares at each other when someone misses a cue.
What other tips do you have for group presentations? Leave your best tip below.