Group presentations are hard enough if you have to do them in person, but they can be just as daunting when virtual too! With a little bit of prepping, teamwork and some clever software however, dreading group projects can become a thing of the past!

Earlier this year, our Enterprise by Design groups had to give presentations completely online on the final night of EBD 2020. In preparation, our teams had to organise virtual meetings, create websites, put together slides and record full presentations while each were in different parts of the country, and even other parts of the world! 

While it wasn’t easy, their presentations still turned out great, and all got to present without any technical hiccups. To learn more about our 2020 virtual finale, visit here.

Based on our experience, here are four ways you can master your group presentation virtually, and collaborate even during lockdown! 

Write out each of your talents and strengths

One of the first things we have students do when they form their EBD teams is write down their course and what their skills and strengths are to share with their new teammates. That way, the teams can divide up different parts of the project or students with similar skills can team up. 

This is a great way for students to learn what each other’s talents are and the unique ways they can contribute to the project from the very beginning. This is also a great way for students to learn about each other’s backgrounds, so that the skills they have learned from their course or outside work can be applied to the project. 

Preview in new tab(opens in a new tab)

To learn more about how we match up students, visit our blog post on week one here! 

If you’re stuck, do rapid fire idea generation 

Copyright – Dan Lane Photography

Sometimes, the best way to get out of a rut when collaborating is to do a challenge or game. In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about some of the games we use at EBD to encourage idea generation, such as crazy eights and the folding challenge. 

Rapid fire idea generation is a great way to push your group to get out of their heads, create first and then whittle down ideas later. As you whittle down options throughout the challenge, your group can begin thinking about quality over quantity, and can hone in on ideas that work best for their group. 

This is a great way to redirect individual’s focus on their own ideas, and direct it to building onto the group’s collective ideas, for the benefit of the whole team!

To learn more about how we use rapid fire idea generation to create T-shaped students, read our blog post here!

Use Collaboration Software, not social media to work together

While a lot of our students use apps such as Instagram and Snapchat to communicate with their groups, these are not reliable when working on group projects because they don’t provide a way for files and work to be saved long term.

Consider using a communication platform like Discord, useful for voice communication or text, that saves your messages for as long as you need it to. You can even share files easily. Set up a channel for your group project, and you’ll always have a place to chat together.

If you’re interested in a tool to help organise a group of people on a single project, look no further than Trello. It’s a great project management tool that allows multiple people to collaborate on organising your tasks.

Evernote, on the other hand, is a great way to create notes, save pictures, or organise research into handy ‘notebooks’ that can be shared amongst multiple people.

Each of these apps or platforms are free, though Trello and Evernote have premium offerings if you get really into them. Especially during times of lockdown, you should focus on those tools that make it easier to get work done, keeping your files safe and accessible from anywhere.

Speaking of keeping files safe, we hope you’re using a cloud file storage system like your University OneDrive, or a personal Google Drive account! The advantage of cloud systems like these is that you can access your files from any computer, collaborate easily at the same time (with Google Docs), and track changes automatically.

Consider a structured presentation style like Pecha Kucha

Here at EBD, we’re big fans of the Pecha Kucha presentation style. Through the years, we have asked our teams to use this unique style which gives them only 20 seconds each on 10 slides to present their ideas. At the end, our students add a 30 second video to summarise their message. 

Students have to beat the clock to finish their presentations before their videos begin because we roll the slides on an automatic timer. This pressure is great for forcing your ideas to come as quickly and as concisely as you can get them.

Pecha Kucha is a great way to make sure people in your team have equal opportunity to speak during a presentation, and keeps people from waffling for too long! By focusing on 20 seconds per slide, you have to really find the benefits for the audience to hear.

This is a great idea for any sales pitch you might ever give!

To learn more about how we use Pecha Kucha in our presentations, visit our blog post on it here!

Have more ideas for presenting group projects online? Pop them in the comments below!