Little glitches and rough edges can mar an otherwise sterling presentation.
Anticipating potential problems and following smart protocols will make the difference between a soaring triumph and a substandard effort.
Here are five ways to ensure success when the lights go up and the mics turn on:
1. Practice all scenarios. With preparation, speakers may be less likely to be thrown off track if the presentation reveals a different setup from what had been discussed.
2. Rehearse the choreography. For instance, if you are sharing a single microphone, practice the handoff. If you’re sharing a PowerPoint clicker, plan out the exchange. Make eye contact with your co-presenter during the transition, and exchange a warm look before turning toward the audience.
3. Stay alert. When others are speaking, practice keeping your eyes on the speaker. You also can take notes if helpful, and imagine observing the audience to see whether some points are landing better than others.
4. Plot your Q&A. Will the emcee assign questions to team members in real time or will certain team members field certain topics? Are group members encouraged to jump in? The real goal is to avoid the awkwardness of deciding in front of the audience who should answer which questions. A team that works gracefully with one another sends a powerful message about their ability to execute cohesively and efficiently on whatever task is before them.
5. Be there for your teammate. Let’s say your colleague gets stuck in traffic on presentation day. You might have to step up and fill the gap, or maybe shorten your part of the presentation if questions run long in the prior segment. Snags and challenges, though unfortunate, do happen. As a team, practice for the unexpected.