I recently gave a presentation with all the people within my department to several managers (mid-way up my org.) After that I was emailed, along with a select few, to repeat this presentation, in short form, to the head of department.

Although this is great for me, I empathise with one of my colleagues, who I've been working closely with, and who was not chosen to do this presentation. I empathise in particular with him as I have been working closely with him on a project in which he has made a significant difference - without this colleague's help the project wouldn't have made the progress it has.

Apart from giving credit to him for the part he played in the project when I present, is there anything else I can do?

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    "Apart from giving credit to him for the part he played in the project when I present, is there anything else I can do?" Aside from giving him credit, or co-presenting with him, no. Oct 26, 2023 at 7:23
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    Why not ask him?
    – Kilisi
    Oct 26, 2023 at 9:39
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    Can you why you could not simply hi-light that person's contribution in the presentation? Can you say why a 'a select few' could come into this, as opposed to 'a couple of us'? How many presentations require more than one or two presenters? Oct 26, 2023 at 22:49

4 Answers 4


If the presentation is entirely about the project the two of you did together, take the position that you, individually, are presenting about the work that you and your colleague did together. Use the word "we" a lot.

Open the talk with something like "I'm here to show you the work that Colleague Lastname and I have been doing this [time period.]" Do not put up a slide that says who did what. Check for places that say "my approach" or "I decided" and such, and make sure they are all "our" and "we". Practice talking about it that way. I've been to plenty of such talks, including at company-wide summits. "We" is the order of the day.

Also, before you do the presentation, schedule some time with your colleague to get his thoughts. Presumably he saw the first presentation. Ask him if he thinks the parts are in the right order, or if some parts should be shorter or longer. Ask him to help you adjust the presentation if it as a whole needs to be longer or shorter for this new audience. Include him in the process of preparing the talk and thank him for doing that work as well as the original work.

If the presentation is about more than just that one project, then your position is that you're presenting about things that have been happening in your team. Still use "we" everywhere, even about projects you did alone, and each time you introduce a project, mention the other people that were on it. Ask your colleague's advice on the whole talk, and involve and include them as much as you can. Consider involving some other folks too.

Being generous with credit will show the higher ups you're a "team player". Sharing your excitement about this presentation with your peers will usually lead them to be happy and excited for you, especially when you make it clear in your slides and rehearsals that they are getting included in the material. They may also genuinely improve your talk -- they know what's going on and heard the first version, and can tell you that "the background section probably isn't important to the higher ups, you can condense that", or "mention the cost savings right away so you get their attention". Make the presentation a team effort, and you'll get a better presentation as well as a happier team.

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    Honestly, this is good advice for a presentation any time it can be justified. First person pronouns not only sound like you're promoting yourself, but they also may psychologically make you overly defensive when answering questions. Incidentally, avoiding first and second person pronouns ("I" and "you") in commenting on SE posts is a Best Practice as well.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 26, 2023 at 21:02
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    @T.E.D.: The post you're commenting on suggests extensively using "we", which is a first person pronoun - seems like good advice to me, but are you suggesting that should be avoided?
    – psmears
    Oct 27, 2023 at 10:41
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    @T.E.D. [citation needed] Oct 27, 2023 at 11:12
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    @psmears: It seems reasonably clear that by “first person pronouns” T.E.D. means “first person singular pronouns”.
    – PLL
    Oct 27, 2023 at 11:31
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    @PLL: I'd certainly hope so, but there are plenty of people who rail against the use of "we" in lots of contexts, insisting that some sort of passive/impersonal construction should be used instead, so it seems worth clarifying :)
    – psmears
    Oct 27, 2023 at 12:58

You can do few things other than giving credit (Which you mentioned yourself)

  1. Make sure that credit is at the beginning itself and clearly call out his name/picture on the slide.
  2. Let him know about your upcoming presentation and thank him in person.
  3. Ask him for his opinion on how "we" can do better for this next presentation. What changes they would suggest.

Apart from perhaps featuring your colleague in the acknowledgements at the end of the presentation you have no need for anything further.

This is a 'shortened' version of your original presentation, not an opportunity for showboating outside the scope of the project.

You don't get overexcited because someone did their job. If the bosses are interested enough, they can get all the detail they want either through direct questions or later through the hierarchy.


As an addition to what has already been answered, why not ask if he can at least attend to the meeting ?

While it seems implied that you have to do the presentation alone, you could still include him in the Q&A towards the end by saying "X and I will be glad to answer any questions you have regarding our work".

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