It seems as if more and more of my work is collaborative in nature – including presentations to either my colleagues or at conferences. Students also have to frequently design and give presentations as groups or as partners. Reflecting on some presentation work with both students and colleagues has led to the creation of this customizable ten-step procedure. Check it out! Each step is designed for either individuals or for when gathered as a whole team.
- Team: Have a metered discussion about the broad topic/question that your presentation is to address. By metered I mean somewhat normed – be cognizant of how much or how little time you are talking and how much or little time you are listening. Strive to facilitate input from everyone involved.
- Individual: Create written summaries of the team discussion. What are your major “take-homes” from the discussion? What struck you as important and particularly interesting? Finish your writing by writing a “driving question” inspired by your summary.
- Team: Quietly read each other’s summaries. You may have to rotate several times depending on the size of your team. Make personal notes as necessary. Synthesize the ideas and driving questions into an agreed upon team driving question or thought. Create and share a live document (e.g., a Google document). Make sure each team member had edit permissions.
- Team: Create a list of “subquestions” to effectively answer/address the driving question or thought. Organize these as an indented outline:
This outline will serve as the backbone of your presentation. Decide whether you will individually contribute to each subquestion or whether you will divide the responsibility of who address which subquestion(s).
- Individual: Add pertinent information to the outline sections. Include links to sources and such. Add this information as an indent to the question.
Information necessary to answer/address the question.
- Team: Organize and share your team’s thinking to an audience. Ask the audience to note when they desire a visual to accompany your words and what type of visual(s) the think would bolster your words. Process your audience’s feedback and add “raw” slides (or placeholder slides, which may be blank save a few words that remind you of the slide’s purpose).
- Individual: Design slides using the principles taught in resources like Presentation Zen and Guy Kawasaki’s 30-20-10 rule. Remember that your slides should enhance and supplement your words and vice versa.
- Team: Formally present to an audience. Solicit feedback about both the content and visuals. Ask certain audience members to focus on the content and ask a few to focus on the visuals. Have them share their feedback aloud and without interruption. After they have done so, rotate back and ask any questions that their feedback generated.
- Team/Individual: Modify, edit, and repeat Step #8 as often as possible. Make sure to also give each other your feedback in addition to that of the audience.
- Team: Give your presentation and then debrief. Go! Give your presentation and have fun. Meet some time after you give your presentation and share your take-home ideas and feedback. Learn from your individual and collective perspectives.
I hope this procedure, or some part of it, helps you craft wonderful presentations when working in a group or partner format.