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How to Present with Another Speaker

 Learn how to co-present the right way with the first in a two-part article.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
April 23, 2010
Episode #088

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I still remember my first time. We stayed up all night...

Of course, I'm talking about the first time I delivered a talk with a co-presenter. My colleague Bob Bickerstaff and I stayed up all night preparing and practicing. We were very junior members of an intensive leadership program at General Electric and we were going to be delivering a presentation to a Senior Vice President.

I didn't realize it at the time, but we were taking a big risk because we weren't planning on using the more common tag team approach. We were going for the gold by co-presenting in duet or equal partner style. I'm happy to report the presentation was a big success! In fact, I'm convinced we both advanced in our careers as a result of the success of that presentation. By the way, Bob’s now a Vice President at AT&T.

Should You Deliver A Presentation with a Partner?

Anyway, the best presentations that I've seen are when two people are able to seamlessly deliver in duet style. By having two (or more) presenters, presentations become much more interesting, energetic, and fun to watch. It's definitely a case where one plus one equals three--that is when the presenters are prepared and practiced.

A good duet presentation is like watching professional ballroom dancers-- two people moving together as a very tightly coordinated pair. Together they can deliver a stronger, more emotional, and inspiring performance.

In fact, that’s exactly why last year I started delivering motivational programs with a partner. There is real synergy and power when Marc and I deliver a presentation together (Marc’s my partner at marshallwolfe.com – Of course, I’m Marshall, he’s Wolfe). Audiences, especially younger audiences, seem to love this deeper more interactive style. Plus it’s great for Marc and I because each time we deliver a program together, it strengthens our working relationship.

The Benefits of Presenting with Someone Else

The advantage of a joint presentation is exactly that, you’re not alone! Another person can come to your rescue should you need help. Another person can explain a concept differently or add her own perspective and experience. Another person can closely monitor audience reactions while you are presenting and jump in if necessary.

But before I get too far, I want to take a second to thank reader Jill Christ who inspired this two-part article. Jill asked me if having a second presenter could enhance a presentation and, if so, to give her some quick and dirty tips for co-presenting.

Jill, as I mentioned in my Facebook response, there are quite a few tips that I can share about co-presenting so I’ll need to cover this topic in two parts.

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