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Presenting with colleagues

November 10, 2018


Presenting with your colleagues can be fun. And it can be very productive. But it can also be challenging. To do it well you will need a very good understanding of how your colleagues work. And you’ll need to practice with them. You will want to come across as a team.  


There are 3 elements to consider. What is the point of your joint presentation? How will it work, in terms of speaking order, and length of time etc? and What will the other speakers do when they’re not speaking?


First, give yourself time to prepare. Often working in a group preparing presentations takes longer than one person working on their own. But it will be an essential way to start to prepare: the group decide what they’re going to say, and who will say which bit, and then you can go off on your own to prepare your own parts of the presentation. Then you come back to discuss and rehearse.


Remember to focus on your point. Why are we doing this? What do we want the audience to think, feel or do as a result of our presentation?


Almost certainly you will want to maintain your flexibility as other people may want to present material you may have regarded as your own. You will need time to discuss and agree on who’s going to say what, and when. 


You probably cannot ‘over-rehearse’. The better you all know what you’re going to say, the easier it will be to focus on the audience and to achieve your goal, whatever that is.


Practice the handovers – find a form of words to hand over to the next speaker. You will want to decide how the opening speaker will introduce the other speakers – either at the beginning or as they come up to speak. Keep the introductions short and relevant to what they will be saying. 


When you’re not speaking you are still ‘on stage’. The audience will still be aware of you. Remember you will want to come across as a team. Look interested. Don’t look bored. Watch the audience, and the speaker. Nod and smile in agreement. Even if someone says something which wasn’t agreed don’t shake your head. Make a mental note to politely correct it later.


Do have a debrief with your colleagues when you’re well away from the venue. Agree what went well and what you’d do differently next time. 


Do all of that and you’ll find presenting with your colleagues can be fun and rewarding!

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