I was recently running a Presentation Skills workshop, which is one of my favourite courses to run. Seeing the change that people can make when they receive just a little feedback is very rewarding. During this workshop we were looking particularly at how people co-present in pairs or in groups. I introduced the workshop delegates to my theory “the Boy Band Technique”.

Cast your mind back to the late 90’s, for those of us that have that memory, for those a little younger I should still be able to explain this one. In the late 90’s there was a boy band called Northern Line, they were formed at the time that Take That had dominated the charts and boy bands where hot property. They released three singles charting in the UK Singles Chart “Run for Your Life” (#18 in October 1999), “Love on the Northern Line” (#15 in March 2000), and “All Around the World” (#27 in June 2000). Nobody remembers them, or has ever heard of them. What was it about them that has made them less memorable or popular compared to Take That around in same era and are still going strong today?

The Boy Band Technique

Sadly, I do remember them and back in my student days had the pleasure of attending a gig they were at. When you see Take That on stage, then and now, you can see how much they enjoy being there. Each member is interacting with the audience and each other on the stage even when it is not their turn to be up front. In a huge contrast to Take That, it wasn’t a great gig when watching Northern Line. When the lead singer was on – the others didn’t really do much, there was no interaction with the audience. People quickly switched off. Apparently, they really didn’t like each other much.

When presenting in a group it is all about how much you support each other. Pay attention to the audience. If you are not presenting, this is a great opportunity for you to engage with the audience ready for your section and understand who is paying attention. It is about supporting one another, what the other person is saying, nodding at appropriate points, looking at them, looking at the audience, interacting with the audience, not being a distraction but a support to the presenter and modelling audience behaviour. When applying this technique there is also a huge point about the importance of being organised and having a rehearsal when more than one of you presenting.

Where else can The Boy Band Technique work?

I’m never one to leave the learning point in just one place. I have been thinking a lot about the Boy Band Technique and the application of the learning. I work with a lot with teams and team management.

When we think about how a team works together and how we foster a great team environment – all of the above applies. To create a strong, long-lasting team, we need to look at how each person supports the other and backs them up when it is needed. To create a high performing team, we need to get each member of the team to work for team success rather than just their own goals. We need to create an environment where teams engage with each other, and like doing it.

Take a look at your team right now, are they Take That or Norther Line? What can you do to start to make a change and move towards a High Performing Team?