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Chapter 16. Not Just One but a Winning T... > Preparing a Winning Team Presentatio...

Preparing a Winning Team Presentation

Several factors seem to be consistently associated with efficiently produced and effective team presentations:

  • Understanding How the Presentation Fits into the Overall Communication Scheme. Is the presentation paramount, with the expectation that it stands alone, or does it work in conjunction with written reports that provide most of the detail?

  • Recognition of the Importance of the Presentation and the Energy That Will Be Required to Put It Together. A last-minute or poorly budgeted effort may cost more in the long run than adequate attention from the start.

  • Getting a Head Start by Considering What It's Going to Take to Win. Among the items to be considered are identification of likely speakers, assessment of their availability and presentation skills, and possible early training and team building. A common expression is "If you've waited for the RFP (Request for Proposal) before starting, you're too late."

    One approach is to provide a training seminar months in advance, including trial run presentations by the likely speakers. This gives all players an awareness of what would be required, gets concerns out in the open, and identifies possible deficiencies in the key speakers. Doing this in advance gives the team time to work on the problems and makes it more likely that the presentation will be successful.

  • Early Direction and Frequent Review by Leadership. Too often the working troops are left to flounder in several directions. Weak or absentee leadership generally guarantees poor team spirit, massive last-minute changes, and shaky presentations.

  • Selection of a Committed Team Program Manager. This is a critical decision as this person has primary responsibility for running the show, from preparation through execution, and sets the pattern the team will follow. A program manager (PM) could be the designated project head (often required), perhaps the CEO, or, for a financial presentation, the CFO (chief financial officer). Having worked with over 200 teams, I've seen how a PM can enhance or hamper the process:

    • PM Joe Cheerleader recognizes the importance of team-building, clear communication, adherence to schedules, and support of colleagues during an arduous process. He seeks out and listens to others' expertise, works hard on his own segments as well as coaches others. He is a team builder.

    • PM Oscar Grimm knows it all, except he doesn't. He operates as a solo player, with little linkage with other team members. He refuses suggestions, doesn't meet milestones himself, and doesn't enforce them with others. He belittles the process, giving only lip service to practice or review teams.

  • Support by Upper Management of the Program Manager. The PM must wear many hats and often is running an ongoing program while leading the team toward winning a new one.

  • Recognition by everyone of the team focus. Whether in sports or in business, team efforts generally come through best. All contributions are significant.

  • Treatment of Content that Recognizes That the Audience Is Probably a Team Too. Team presentations often draw audiences more diverse in both level and discipline than do single-speaker presentations.

  • Getting to Know Each Other. The keys to team cohesion may rely as much on group dynamics as on specific procedures. For proposal presentations, teams are often pulled together for the project and may be barely acquainted. Getting that vital team flavor may take some working or socializing together. For example, when I was coaching such a team and it was clear they were uptight, we scheduled a highly informal dinner. Relaxing over pizza and beer brought everyone close together, which paid off during the next day's rehearsals.

  • Careful Attention to Operational Detail. Plenty can go wrong in a single twenty-minute presentation. Add in several players and segments, and the potential problems are compounded.



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