The Impeachment Trial: A Seminar in Team Presenting

You can hire your friends at EMS Communications any time you need help planning your next team presentation at a sales conference, convention, board meeting or member event.

But here’s an idea for a seminar you can take on your own: watch portions of the Senate’s Impeachment Trial live, recorded, or as news highlights and summaries. (It’s the next-best thing to working with us in person!)  When you tune in, pay careful attention to the ways each side of the aisle has deployed their individual team members to best make their respective cases.

Each team has compiled an impressive lineup card: big-picture presenters and others who focus on details; those who read their notes carefully, and those who present as if they speak off the cuff; those who engage their audience and those who seem to ignore them; those who make good eye connection and those whose eyes seem glued to their notes.

Not counting senators, there are about a dozen speakers—lawyers and Congressional representatives—that have invaded the Senate chamber to present to jurors and citizens alike. Seven House Managers have been making the case for impeachment, with as many as eight lawyers presenting on behalf of President Trump. We expect you’ll notice right away that each side has spent a lot of energy strategizing about their approach. Here’s a study guide relating to team presenting—discussion questions you can consider as the trial rolls along.

As you watch testimony live, recorded or just as news summaries and clips, pay attention to what strategies have emerged from each team. If you are watching with others, engage them with some of these topics to get their input as well.

Rosters. The president’s defense team has brought in at least two well known “designated hitters” to join their defense team. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team have put an equal amount of thought into carefully choosing their House Managers. Can you tell whether either side is pleased with their decisions?

Individual Presenters. Notice the strengths and weaknesses of each team member—style, knowledge, connection, expertise. What role does each presenter play on their team? What skills do each of the teams seem to value in choosing their openers and closers?

Visuals Aids. How well does each side use visual aids such as slides, quotes, and video testimony? In what other ways are they introducing evidence? Do they seem more concerned about reaching out to Senators or to the TV audience?

Timing. How are teams planning presentations around time of day and the corresponding expected size of TV audience? How are they considering the likely energy level of their live audience?

Pacing. The presenters have prepared a LOT of information. When they share it, do they speak too quickly? Use pauses well? What strategies seem to be involved relating to how the individual speakers pace themselves? What particular challenges do they face in presenting information that is technical or complicated?

Tone. Since Chief Justice Roberts warned each side to take a more civil tone than they were using in their comments, what adjustments have you seen house managers and White House attorneys make in the tone of their remarks?

Takeaways. What real-world lessons are you gleaning from following the Impeachment Trial? Which strategies and techniques will you want to borrow or avoid as you plan your next team presentation?

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