Presenting as a team? Make sure everyone comes out a winner.

1. Pay attention: Just because you’re not the one talking, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be listening, and listening closely.  It doesn’t matter if this is a sales “road show” and you’ve heard it a hundred times before.  Your interest in your team mate and what he or she is saying directly impacts the audience’s view of your fellow presenter, what’s coming out of his or her mouth, and YOU as her partner presenter. Your attention and enthusiasm will bump the audience’s up as well.  Likewise, your yawning, checking your watch, or worse, your cell phone will fracture their attention and put a big question mark in their minds about what your team mate is saying, and worse, how you operate together.

2. Think airplane take-off: Put AWAY all electronic devices and turn them off before you do.  You want nothing to distract or detract from your presentation.  A buzzing cell phone or an open laptop or ipad (to which your eyes are drawn like a moth to a flame) screams “You’re not a priority” to your audience. Not a good rapport builder. There is no one and nothing coming from the satellites above that can’t wait until your presentation is finished. This is not a time for multi-tasking.

3. Stay put:  Do not go in and out of the room in which the presentation is taking place.  (and probably to check the cell phone I’ve just urged you to turn off!)  Your departure will distract your audience and shout, “What you’re hearing now from my fellow presenter isn’t important enough for me to stick around. I’ll check back in when things get more interesting; namely, when it’s my turn to present.” This kind of popping in and out creates constant interruption, unsettles your co-presenter and is just plain impolite.

4. Don’t debate with your team mates.  If your co-presenter happens to say something with which you disagree, ask yourself if the audience needs to know your point of view before you open your mouth.  If it is something critical to their understanding and adoption of your idea, product or service, be very careful about your phrasing.  Something like, “I’d offer another point of view if I may…” will allow you to speak your mind and still look like a team in the eyes of your audience. A blunt disagreement will make everyone uncomfortable and unsure who to believe.  Once they start questioning any of your team your overall credibility is lost.

5. Be super polite: Ask your co-presenter if you can weigh in on a topic.  Ask for permission to answer a question if he or she is still leading a segment of the presentation.  Conversely, let your teammate know well in advance if you intend to toss the ball to him during your segment.  Catching your presentation partner completely off guard with a hard ball question is not good team behavior.  Plus, you want to be sure everything that comes out of your team’s collective mouths is sharp, smart and successful.

Remember these do’s and don’ts the next time you’re presenting in a team.  Your teammates and your audience will be grateful.  Better yet, you’ll be heard.

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