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September 04, 2013

Hive-Minding a Presentation

September 04, 2013

With several big speaking gigs looming on the horizon, Jeb felt a little overwhelmed. Not one to just regurgitate the same speech, each upcoming engagement would require thought and focus. In the past, he would have just soldiered through alone, but he decided to test out a more collaborative approach to presentation building. Instead of soloing, Jeb turned to a small group of 'Boxers to tackle one of his presentations.

For Centric's Day of Innovation, Jeb had already chosen the topic: Building and Sustaining an Innovative Culture. Lydia, Dan, Jason and I joined Jeb in our conference room to brainstorm everything we thought might make a good point for his topic. Jeb wrote each point down on the whiteboard until we filled the entire board. We then grouped each point into larger themes, and then finally, ordered them in a way that made sense for him to tell a story.

Jeb practicing his Centric presentation

At the end, Jeb practiced a five minute version of the presentation on the spot to test out the flow and feel out what, if anything, seemed weak. Compared to Jeb, I'm a very unpracticed public speaker. The idea of an impromptu recital seemed incredibly intimidating, but after thinking about it, I realized how this practice would ultimately benefit the delivery at Day of Innovation.

We've learned that whether we're solving a big client problem or tackling a typically solo endeavor, the hive-mind has been one of our most underutilized resources. With more minds on the presentation, we could consider different perspectives on culture-building, a role our whole team shares at SmallBox. Together we came up with some really meaty ideas, but I'll save the reveal on those for Jeb's presentation on September 12. You can still grab a ticket here.

Inspired by how this session went, I've been thinking about other ideas for collaborative presentation building:

  • Sketch
    Gather a group and ask, 'If you could build one slide for this presentation, what would it look like?' Each person would then describe the ideas behind their slide sketch.
  • Collage
    Put the team around a table full of magazines. Flip through the pages, and tear out images that speak to what this presentation should look like. Edit the images down to create a moodboard for the presentation.
  • Survey
    Ask a sample of people what questions they would want answered about your topic. Incorporate these ideas into the outline of the presentation.

Have you ever built a presentation collaboratively? Any tips or ideas to share?

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