Presenting with a Partner – Tips for Making It a Success

Recently I attended a presentation introducing several new computer software programs. I was doubly delighted. Not only was the presentation lively, informative and exciting, it was orchestrated by not one, but two speakers. This feat in itself offers a huge challenge, and yet, when accomplished as well as the two men I heard, can be an excellent and effective way to present. In this article, I address some of the effective ways of partnering for a presentation.

What makes a presentation given by two people good, along with being worthwhile, not only for them, but also for the audience?

Preparation, preparation, preparation. It was extremely evident that the two men who were working together – they bill themselves as “brothers” – were both well prepared for their portion of the program. They were also, however, prepared for the parts they shared. It wasn’t just one person’s show, followed by the other person’s show. They were working together.

Timing is more important than ever. When two people are presenting together, they must know exactly how much time to devote to their part and/or parts of the time allotted. If one goes way over, it will detract from the other’s portion, because the audience will feel they were cheated out of information. A clever way to handle this and keep the audience aware of the time was the way the first “brother” presenting asked the second “brother” to keep track of the time and give him a signal when it was time for him to wind down. As the second “brother” started, the first one unobtrusively switched the connection to the projector from his laptop to his brother’s.

Be comfortable with each other. One of the most important factors that made this presentation such a complete success was that these two men exhibited such an easy camaraderie with each other. They joked with each other – but not too much. They listened to each other (even though I am sure that they have heard this material many, many times before – they travel the country doing these presentations). Most of all, they appeared to sincerely like each other. The rapport they had with each other multiplied into establishing an easy rapport with us, the audience.

Even if your personalities and presentation styles differ, it is imperative that each of you is a powerful presenter. The two men who were so impressive could be brothers (I have a feeling they aren’t), but they were similar in looks, the way they dressed (appropriately for the type of meeting they were attending), and both were equally excellent presenters. Both had enough pizzazz and polish that neither outshone the other – even though I was more interested in the software programs attacked by the second brother, I still enjoyed the first presentation as much.

Yes, co-presenting with another can create a challenge, but can also – when done well – give you and your listeners a powerful presentation to remember. Try it. You will be glad you did.