Co-Presenting Tips and Techniques

by ltconsulting on September 29, 2011

Our presentation courses are planned to significantly improve presentation skills to allow delegates of all levels to be able to make powerful presentations.  The presentation seminars that we provide are packed full of presentation tips and techniques that demonstrate strategies which will show delegates how to reduce nerves in presentations and to allow them to present confidently when presenting to clients or colleagues. Our presentation skills workshops are designed not just to show delegates how to make a simple presentation: they are designed to show delegates how to create a successful presentation also maximising the applications of PowerPoint to make great presentationsPresentation training will allow delegates to build on their presenting skills; make better presentations; enjoy making presentations and teach delegates how to present successfully.  Delegates who have taken our Presentation Courses have expressed how much they enjoyed the variety in our presentation skills training and now feel confident to present in any situation.

Sharing the load

Co-presenting improves almost all presentations in several ways. It adds to the energy. It lets each presenter to come to the other’s rescue when necessary.

Solo presenters manage many tasks at the same time — monitoring audience reaction, preparing visuals, keeping track of content, managing time. Because co-presenters share these tasks, they conserve personal energy. Neither person is “on” all the time. While one speaks, the other can perform important presentation functions such as assessing the audience or planning modifications.

Co-presenters can also rescue one another. Presenters feel that one of their biggest fears is going blank in the middle of a presentation. But when one co-presenter goes blank or gets off track, the partner can come in with needed support.

Agreements and signals

Your team is ready to go when both presenters have agreed philosophies, strategies, and approaches. They are committed to maintain personal composure and support one another. They are willing to trust the processes of working together.

Presentation agreements

1. Each presenter has permission to do whatever is necessary to meet session outcomes and maintain audience rapport and resourcefulness. Both rapport and resourcefulness are essential to learning. Rapport exists when the audience remains responsive to you. Audiences are resourceful when they are energetic, capable, and receptive. Each presenter has permission to monitor and intervene with spontaneous interventions. It’s OK, for example, to tell a joke when your partner has gotten too serious.

2. You don’t have to understand each of your partner’s suggestions to support it. Sometimes when planning time is limited, trust your partner’s intuition.

3. Both know that each person will do whatever it takes to achieve desired outcomes, whether that means interrupting each other, running dittos, fixing the furniture, planning during breaks, prospecting with trainees before the session begins, or working with trainees at lunchtime to help resolve problems.

4. Develop signals. For “your turn”, co-presenters can use vocal intonation shifts, incomplete sentences, and/or palms turned up. They can use physical proximity or eye contact for “I want to add something.” Or a finger on the wristwatch could signal, “We are running out of time.”

5. The best co-presentation teams signal that we are all learners. And that’s an important message no matter what the topic.

GETTING STARTED – WORKING ON THE RELATIONSHIP

Some common repertoire of presentation strategies is helpful, but not essential to getting started. Both partners expand presentation repertoire as a result of working together.

Initiate a conversation about mutual responsibilities. Since the ability to maintain personal composure is so important, make it clear that each co-presenter is responsible for his or her own emotional state. No matter how compatible the team, eventually something will threaten, annoy, or embarrass one or both members.

Each presenter is also responsible for making the other look good. One way to do this is by giving full attention when the other partner speaks, by publicly acknowledging items. By referring to earlier comments made by your partner (“as Sarah said earlier. . . .”), and by providing, when necessary, tactful content corrections by saying, (“Sarah has just offered one point of view we would like you to have. Now here is another we invite you to consider. . . .”) In this way, you can eliminate the sense of conflicting viewpoints and offer instead the wider perspectives that are possible from two presenters.

Trust is an essential component to a successful partnership. Trust includes depending on the other person’s judgment, trust that he or she intends no harm, trust that he or she can respond to the unexpected. It means trusting that each will submerge his or her own ego and share the disposition that audience enlightenment is the most important goal, regardless of who is on stage or doing what. In most cases, co-presenter trust develops over time, and is subject to occasional interruptions. People with a natural affinity for one another probably develop that trust fairly rapidly. Ultimately however, co-presenters develop trust in one another just as they do in other relationships: from experiences together in which consistency, confidentiality, crisis survival, risk taking, understanding, and honest communication occur.

Five forms for co-presenting

Presenters offer variety and richness to audiences when they use five main forms for co-presenting:

  1. Tag-team
  2. Speak-and-comment
  3. Speak-and-chart
  4. Perform-and-comment
  5. Duet

Partners in a beginning working relationship can use just two or three of these forms and offer the impression of an experienced team.

1. Tag-team. In this form of co-presenting, presenters take turns. One is on, while the other is off. Many find this method the best for beginning a partnership. It also works well for delivering new material that one or both presenters have not yet internalised.

2. Speak-and-comment. This form puts both presenters on stage at the same time. One makes a statement and the other adds to it. One leads; the other supports. The “lead” is in charge of the content and makes process decisions — when to move on, end discussions, or proceed to the next content area. The support person does whatever is necessary to achieve this segment’s outcomes. He or she may add humour if the person gets too dry, give an example, cite some research, or pose a question for audience reflection. This is the beginning — and the easiest — level of spontaneous broadcasting. Speak-and-comment lets co-presenters capitalise on their different perspectives and experiences.

3. Speak-and-chart. The lead person presents content and elicits participant comments, while the support person records participant or co-presenter ideas on a flip chart or overhead transparency. The support co-presenter acts as the session’s neutral and invisible scribe. Successful speak-and-chart presentations demand the following critical attributes:

  • Both presenters must clearly understand who plays which role.
  • The lead must monitor the accuracy and speed with which the support person records.
  • The recorder must remain silent and neutral.
  • The speak-and-chart method works powerfully because 40 percent of the people report that they best absorb information visually. In contrast, only 20 percent report auditory processing as their preferred method of learning — and when audiences get tired, auditory processing is the first resource lost.

4. Perform-and-comment. Audiences will sometimes focus on what is irrelevant in skills demonstrations unless we help them. By assigning observation roles to pairs or trios, we can assist participants to not only see and hear greater details, but also examine interactions and relationships.

For example: One partner models an interaction with a participant. The second partner provides a “voice over” function, drawing the audience’s attention to particularly relevant transactions occurring before them.

5. Duet. This is the Mercedes-Benz of co-presenting. This form carefully blends several ingredients to produce maximum effect with minimum display of effort. Both presenters are on stage at the same time. The following are some ways you can recognise co-presenters operating as a duet:

  • Presenters employ brief content chunks. One talks for a minute or so; the other speaks for a similar amount of time.
  • They finish sentences for each other. First presenter: “And you should know that… ” Second presenter: “…the first consideration is trust.”
  • They use physical proximity. Co-presenter duets do best when they stand three to seven feet apart.
  • They subtly cue each other to take a turn with looks, body shifts, hand gestures, voice tempo, and intonation.
  • They stay focused all the time, each attentive to the other and the audience.
  • They use a synchronistic style — the mutual telling of a story, exchanging speaker roles every other line or so, sometimes speaking together at the same time.

6. Be a Team: All team members should dress similarly. The rule is a level above your audience; if they are in jeans, go for casual slacks. If it suits the occasion, all might wear corporate or team T-shirts or caps. Never wear your usual clothes for a group presentation. It is a special occasion and your attire should show that.

Have a single presentation style (one PowerPoint show, for instance), rather than having each person do their own thing. Either have one person do the whole show, or develop a template which everyone uses. Take the time to ensure that every slide has the same look and feel, and that type sizes, graphics and writing style are consistent.

Transitions are essential for an integrated presentation. Transitions are bridging elements that conclude one section and start another. Watch your local newscast for examples. The goal is to “tee up” the next speaker so we know who they are, what they will talk about and how it ties into what went before. Some helpful ideas:

  • That’s an overview of the history of this project. Now, we will turn to Maria for the current situation.
  • Those are the main reasons cited in support of this concept. However, to view things from the other side, we will hear what opponents have to say. To present those viewpoints, I will turn things over to Karen.
  • With this overview of the internal issues for the company, we can now examine the external environment with Steven.

Exercise

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Excellent presentation skills give you a platform to demonstrate your sales skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, influencing abilities and promotion potential. Our objective over the two days is to teach you the skills and techniques that will give you both the confidence and competence to enjoy making presentations in all situations. We will be giving action points to sharpen your image; reduce nerves; allow you to appear both confident and competent and increase your credibility in the eyes of colleagues and clients.

PowerPoint presentation skills, Advanced Presentation skills and Presentation skills are three of the courses trained by Total Success Training, a training consultancy specialising in communication training and management skills in London and throughout the UK. Other related courses include sales presentation skills, training the trainer, assertiveness skills, selling skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding presentation skills course information or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.

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