With presentations in the books, I have come up with a list of my five best tips for having a successful MDP presentation. I was so proud of my team as we stood together and presented our findings and research from the past five months. We talked with so many people who were apart of the M&T Securities (MTS) team and really wanted to make it a presentation that showed the research and showed the opinions of those who took their time to meet with us after all they are the experts, not our group. We are very excited about the outcome and the outlook of our recommendations within the future of MTS.
But now that my group presentation experience is done as at M&T MDP – I want to leave some of the tips that helped myself and the rest of our group make it through MDP Presentation Week.
- Get multiple opinions on your final presentation. Not everyone likes to see graphics or lots of texts. Some people like to hear things in different ways so it is important to test out your presentation with people other than your sponsors. My group presented to our sponsors multiple times, our MDP manager, former MDPs, and the end-user of our ideas. You want to have people with different eyes look at it and give criticism – it is important to take it and when you are in the home stretch take the criticism and follow your gut.
- Understand how you are going to answer the questions as a team. You don’t want to be the group that looks unorganized or looks down the line to figure out who is going to be answering the question. As a team we had one point person who was designated to dictate where the question went. We all had presented different sections of the project so that was clear on who would answer those specific questions but for the unknown questions our question lead would facilitate the question and direct it at someone. There were groups who had multiple people answer the same question and not add much value which can really hurt the credibility of the group – it looks disjointed. As a group we wanted to have confidence in the answers of the team members. Not to say that is the only way to answer questions but to use that was what we thought worked the best.
- Watch your bank wide verbiage. It is easy to get caught up in your department’s bank verbiage such as the different computer programs the department uses or acronyms that are common. You have to keep in mind you have spent the past five months on the project but your audience hasn’t so when you are introducing an unfamiliar topic (which could be your whole presentation) make sure you explain what you are talking about. Trust me after watching seven other presentations in two days, you can easily get lost if you don’t have the context. My peers who presented before my group (our group was the final presentation) did a great job at explaining confusing topics.
- Practice what you want to say and how you want to say it. Understanding what you want to say before you get up in front of the crowd is important. Practicing different ways of phrasing things in front of your own group can help narrow down how things sound when coming out. Does your pitch spike when you read a quote, I didn’t know that about me until one of my peers pointed it out. How about should you take a drink of water between topics because your voice gets dry (that was a cue for one of my teammates) or how fast are you talking and does it change depending on who your audience is (we had a few of those amongst my peers). It doesn’t matter what your ticks are but understanding them and practicing what you want to say whether in your head or outside. You will be encouraged to practice as much as you can but that does not work for everyone and that is okay. You are given a day to practice as a group before the presentations start and my group ran through our presentation four times, in my opinion it made me worse after the 2nd time through. I have never practiced that much for a presentation and it showed me I am not someone who practices out loud. I am someone who practices at the gym in my head going through my slides. Figure out what works for you to practice and just go with it!
- Be confident! There is nothing that is going to help you more than your own confidence in the work you have done. It is incredible that in five months you can learn so much about a department than you had no previous connection too. The research that all the groups did was amazing and the confidence that everyone showed presenting it was even more amazing. When you can stand up in front of your managers, your teammates managers, the senior managers, your peers and your sponsors and be confident it really makes for a great presentation.