By now I’m pretty sure that most of us are somewhat comfortable with the concept of giving a speech by ourselves. Yes, it can be a very nerve racking thing to do, but over time we get used to the process of understanding the importance of public speaking and accepting the opportunity, creating a speech, practicing it, and then finally giving it. However, it turns out that this is not the only way that speeches get given. There is also a variant called the group speech. This is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people get up on the stage and they all work together to deliver a single speech. These can be great speeches to both give and listen to; however, they require special techniques to build them correctly.
It’s All About The Visuals
The funny thing about group presentations is that we can all make the same mistakes when we are part of a group that we make as individual speakers. When a group decides to use visuals as a part of their presentation, they are going to have to pick a person or a group of people to handle the coordination of the material. These people will be responsible for maintaining a master copy of the visuals and deciding which ones will become part of any leave-behind package you create.
Creating visuals is not an easy task. When you are working as a group you are going to want to make sure that everything is consistent. This means that the different presenters have the same amount of material and their material all looks the same. It’s going to take about a week to pull all of the material together and then another week to get it formatted and printed. Make sure that your group does not spend too much time working on their visuals. You should allocate no more than roughly 20% of your speech preparation time for visual creation.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Time matters when we are giving individual speeches and it especially matters when we are giving a group presentation. So how much time does it take to do a good job of rehearsing a speech that will be given by multiple people? The thinking is that roughly two weeks before the actual presentation, the team needs to come together and do some initial run throughs of the speech. You’ll want to use the visual aids and take the time to talk through how you want the presentation to flow. The purpose of this rehearsal will be to allow you to identify redundancies and gaps in what you are going to be saying. Additionally, you’ll want to allow each member of the team to understand what everyone else is going to be saying so that they can reference other people’s material during their presentations.
You will also want to use this time to allow each speaker to craft a smooth transition both from and to the next speaker. Eventually all of this practice leads to answering one key question: how long is this presentation going to take? When you get a group of speakers together, they often run over their allotted time and will need to cut back on their presentations. When you are giving a speech as a part of a group, you’ll want to make sure to practice by yourself first because you don’t want to be working your bugs out in front of the group.
One of the biggest problems you’ll have when you are part of a group presentation is the simple fact that in order to deliver the presentation, you’ll need to have the group! This means that when the big day rolls around, you’ll want to make sure that each member of the group arrives at the speaking location nice and early. If where you’ll be speaking is a large location, then everyone is going to want to show up and hour and a half early. If you are just presenting to a single business, then you can get there a half an hour early.
The extra time that the team will have before it is time for you to go on stage will be critical. You can use this time to set up any materials that you may have brought, test the microphones being used, and perform a sound check for the entire team. If you pull this off correctly, then you’ll be positioned to meet people as their arrive to hear you speak and, of course, start on time.
What All Of This Means For You
When you become comfortable making speeches by yourself, you might think that that is the only type of speech out there that you can use to share the benefits of public speaking. However, you’d be wrong. It turns out that at times we are called on to give speeches as a part of a group. These can be powerful and effective speeches; however, they need to be put together a bit differently than our normal individual speeches are.
When you have a team of people who will be giving a speech, you need to take the time to make sure that their visuals will all look the same. The visuals are going to have to be done two weeks before the speech so that they can be formatted and printed. Make sure that you don’t spend too much time working on visuals – 20% is a good amount of time to shoot for. In order to make sure that you deliver the best speech possible, you’ll want to rehearse it before you give it. Get the team together two weeks before the presentation and run through your speech. Pay close attention to your time and don’t run over. On the big day make sure that everyone shows up nice and early. Use your time before the presentation to test out the room and greet your audience.
As public speakers, we have the obligation to continue to expand our skill set. Once we have become somewhat comfortable making individual presentations, we can move on and start to give presentations as a part of a group. However, we need to understand that group presentations are different from individual presentations. We need to take the time to carefully prepare and practice them so that we’ll be able to give the best group presentation possible!
Question For You: When working as a group, how many visuals should you restrict each member to?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
When we are asked to give a presentation, sometimes it comes with a twist. The twist is that other people have been asked to give the same presentation at the same time. What this means for us is that we are now going to be part of a group presentation and the rules for giving a presentation have now been changed. A group presentation can be a very powerful thing and can allow us to share the importance of public speaking; however, if we going to do this correctly, then we need to make sure that we know how to go about doing it the right way.