Show and tell
Share progress or learnings with a wider audience and get feedback on your work.
Advice on show and tells
Why have a show and tell
To gather feedback and ideas on your work by telling colleagues about:
- who you are and what you’re working on
- progress you’ve made
- what you’ve learned
- what went well and what did not work
- what’s next
Who is involved
Team and key stakeholders. Invite anyone who you think is interested in your updates.
When to have a show and tell
Do a show and tell in a regular slot each week, fortnight or month. Whatever works best for the team and your audience.
Things you’ll need
You need to show the things you've been working on, like:
- live demos of the product
- working prototypes or visuals that can demonstrate the value of the progress
- user research and quotes
If creating a slide deck helps you do this, that’s fine but showing what you’re working on and discussing it with your audience is the most important thing.
If you’re doing a show and tell face-to-face, you'll also need a good space.
Face-to-face or remotely, you need to invite colleagues a few weeks before and send reminders so that people can attend.
Tips on running the session
Preparation should be quick. Aim to create a conversation, not a TED talk that takes up half of your team’s week to prepare.
Aim for 20 minutes for the presentation and 10 minutes for questions.
Avoid having a lot of content on each slide. Try and use simple sentences and images where you can.
Try to add in stories to engage people at the beginning or during your show and tell. For example, you could tell a story about how and why the team decided to work on this.
Have different people speaking to provide a range of voices.
Practise beforehand to check that the timing and pace work.
Shout about the things that have gone well but also talk about the things that can help other people learn.
Expect questions. Be honest if you do not know the answer and offer to follow up with anyone who wants to get into a longer debate.
Related terms: show and tell, stakeholders, working in the open.
See definitions of these terms in our glossary.
How to do a show and tell
How to use the steps
This is one way of doing this activity based on our experience.
You might want to adapt it or only use part of it.
Teams often find their own way of doing an activity. This is a guide to get you started.
Welcome and introductions
Introduce yourself, your team and who’s going to be speaking.
Introduce the aims of the session
Share your vision for the show and tell: what people are going to know by the end of it.
Discuss any blockers or limitations
Be clear that:
- show and tells are an important part of reporting for the project
- colleagues are welcome to ask questions. Let people know whether you want them to ask questions during the presentation or keep them until the end.
Provide some context for your work and how it contributes to your purpose and objectives. This could be a good place to add a story.
Do the method or activity
Provide 2 to 5 main points about the progress on your product or service.
Try not to tell everyone about everything you have done. If you’re not sure what to talk about, pick:
- one thing that went well
- one thing that you learned or did not go well
- something you want feedback on
Very briefly tell people about your next steps.
Review the method or activity
Tell people how you have met your vision for the show and tell: summarise what you have told them or contributed.
Close the session
Tell people about the next show and tell and when it will be.
Signal the end of your presentation.
“You could say “That’s the end of the show and tell and I’m happy to answer questions.”
Post session tasks
Share the slides, visuals, or recording of the show and tell, if you think that would help people.
Review the show and tell as a team soon afterwards. Recording how you feel in the moment can help you to improve what you do next time.
To decide what to work on next go to ways of working activities.