Beware Dog & Pony Shows From Hell!

Team-Delivered Presentations (TDPs) are still common in the workplace today, especially with higher-end sales pitches or senior executive project updates. Some are effective, efficient and engaging messages. But, unfortunately, too many become ‘Dog & Pony Shows from Hell‘. What pushes them over the edge is poor planning and preparation, just as with other facets of workplace presentations.

The results can be very painful for the audience:

  • Often, a TDP takes longer to deliver the same amount of information as a single-presenter message.
  • The poor planning results in too much unintentional repetition or overlap of information. People hear ‘As Bill said … ‘ all too often.
  • Clumsy transitions between presenters create the impression – often quite accurate – that the presenters never practiced together or coordinated what they were going to do.
  • The audience may wonder why they’re being forced to endure several speakers of varying competency, when one speaker with the best skills would be better for their informational needs.

Why Deliver a TDP at all?

There are good audience-centric reasons that well-intended teams often use to justify their TDPs. Chief among them are the inability of any one speaker to handle all the technical information to be delivered and their motivation to showcase several team members as an indication of commitment or resources. While these reasons make some sense, effective audience-centric team presentations require thorough planning and preparation to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.

To avoid such Dog & Pony Shows from Hell, answer these important questions honestly and thoughtfully:

  • Why will having a TDP add incremental value to accomplishing your defined outcomes?
  • What’s in it for the audience, when the message could be delivered just as well by one speaker?
  • How will you decide on roles, responsibility and content sequence issues?
  • How much time will your team be able to practice the presentation?

If you’re happy with the answers to these questions, then proceed with your TDP. If not – don’t.  Assuming you do decide to deliver one, be sure to check in next month, when we discuss Best Practices for avoiding Dog & Pony Shows from Hell! If you can’t wait that long, send me a note and I’ll walk you through the process.

Happy Presenting!