“The concept of waiting bewilders me. There are always deadlines. There are always ticking clocks.” -Whiterose, Mr Robot

I’ve been a long-standing member of Toastmasters, using my time there to practice various presentation styles and techniques. In fact, if you want to practice your communication skills, Toastmasters is a great place to do so.

Toastmasters is also an organization where beginners can learn to overcome one of the biggest fears plaguing professionals – public speaking.

So, if you visit a Toastmasters meeting, you’ll see speakers perform a variety of presentations, including the team presentation.

Toastmasters Timing Tips to Use in Your Team Presentation

Now, amidst those Toastmasters presentations, you may see a speaker taking their time walking to the lectern. Sometimes, you’ll even see them in mosey mode. These speakers are building their courage and mentally preparing what they are going to say.

Stretching that time out allows the speaker to collect their thoughts and bolster their courage. However, it doesn’t reflect well on the person leading the meeting. And it doesn’t leave a “warm and fuzzy” in the minds of your audience. Especially if the speaker is still walking to the lectern after the applause has stopped.

However, outside a Toastmasters meeting, these time lags reflect a lack of preparation. They slow down the pace of the meeting. These long pauses give the audience  time to think about “other things” like criticizing the speaker. And they see the team leader or facilitator as not in control of their group.

Back in San Jose, I worked as an assistant for one of the instructors. This woman was fastidious when it came to planning her classes. To conserve time, she wanted any assistant giving a presentation to be standing just offstage. She didn’t want them sitting at the back table engaged in paperwork. Nor did she want them having a consultation with one of the participants. She wanted them standing in the wings, ready to take center stage when she introduced them.  I liked this effective technique so much,  I borrowed it for my classes.

You should remember that these classes, like TV talk shows, are on a tight schedule. They can’t afford to run over their allotted time.  Waiting for the next speaker to walk to the front of the room consumes time. And it adds nothing to your program.

The Team Presentation in Sales

If you are in sales, your manager will eventually call on you to lead a team presentation for a high profile client. Leading the team presentation is more about creating a favorable environment so your team can shine. This means you need to control the time, keep everything tight, and have your team ready for action.

One of the best ways to do this is by controlling the transitions. Practice with your team. Run through the speaker transitions in addition to practicing the presentations. Account for all your time, especially those moments of transition where you are bridging presenters.

But most importantly, make sure the transitions blend. In your planning session, decide if the current speaker will introduce the next speaker, or if the team lead, you, will handle the transitions.

And make sure you emphasize to your members to have everything ready to go when called. You don’t want your people in front of the sales meeting being a “cheap hood ornament” while waiting for their laptop to boot up.

If you want your team presentation to run smoothly, manage your full program like a multi million-dollar TV production.  Keep your team on point and your timing tight. Your team may call you a taskmaster. But your customers will call you a hero!