Writing a presentation or speech on your own can be difficult and challenging – and it doesn’t need to be. You may never have thought to do so, but involving other people can make the task easier and less daunting – and can bring a host of extra benefits.
Why use collaborative presentation development?
- Collaborators bring a fresh perspective
- Collaborators challenge assumptions
- Collaborative presentation development delivers better results
- Inviting collaborators creates a collaborative culture
- Collaboration plugs critical gaps in your knowledge and skill
- Collaboration adds an extra level of quality control that can prevent embarrassing mistakes
When should you involve others?
My research suggests that, if people do ask others for help, it tends to be late on in the presentation. It’s not unusual for people to ask a colleague to check their script or slide deck for typos or grammatical errors.
The second most common use of collaboration is at the rehearsal stage. The more important the presentation, the more it make sense to rehearse in front of a live audience. This could be in a team meeting or over a lunch break. Although this takes time and a bit of organisation, a live rehearsal pays big dividends for you and the other people in the audience.
- You get the chance to test your presentation in a “safe” environment
- Your colleagues feel valued because you asked them to give you their feedback
- Younger staff learn how to give and receive feedback
- Observing someone, to give them feedback, helps you learn the small details that make or break a presentation
Involving People Earlier
Where else could you tap into the power of collaboration during the presentation design process? Ask yourself how and who you could involve at each stage.
- Outcome setting
- Content brainstorming
- Audience journey mapping
- Script polishing
- Visual aid selection and design
- Delivery refining
Who could/should you involve?
Don’t be scared to ask your boss for help when planning and preparing a presentation. They probably have valuable knowledge, experience and insights from which you could benefit. Remember – asking them for their opinion and insight is not cheating.
Your peers can provide valuable help in a number of areas. These include content ideas (including metaphors, stories, and case studies), visual aid design input (do you know someone with a flair for design?) or constructive feedback on your delivery.
Involving junior staff early on in the development of a critical presentation brings multiple benefits. Inexperienced staff can bring a much needed fresh pair of eyes and challenge assumptions, language, and jargon that you might otherwise overlook. Involving them shows that you value their opinions and demonstrates that collaborative problem solving is a desirable and valued behaviour in your organisation
Involving external people is a necessity if you work on your own or only have a very small team. It can also be essential if your presentation is aimed at an external audience. Outsiders such as friends, family or a presentation coach like me will be able to spot important issues such as jargon and insider language that may not be understood correctly by an external or lay audience.
A couple of examples
I was inspired to write this article after one of my clients asked me to “sit in” while he delivered a dry run of an important conference presentation. He wanted objective feedback on how he could improve the content, design and delivery. Thankfully, he still had two weeks before the “real” event so had plenty of time to consider and implement my feedback. Afterwards, he decided that he would arrange a further run-through with myself and some of his colleagues. I wish more presenters would do something like this.
Ray Adams, a friend, shared this great example. “I always get my boss to review my slide deck before any meeting with senior stakeholders to ensure it flows, is accurate, but most importantly that people will get it first time reading it. I do this because I know that, no matter how many times I’ve reviewed it, there’s a chance that I might miss a slight mistake that could cost me the meeting.”
Make your life easier by using collaborative presentation development. Why do it all yourself when you can get a better result by involving others?
P.S. Collaboration is too good an approach to limit to presentation development. I shared an early version of this article with some trusted colleagues, and they gave me some valuable feedback. Thanks, Marian Way and Ray Adams.
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This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Gavin Meikle – View the original post .