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VIEWPOINT: TWO’S COMPANY Consider co-presenting

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Audiences are used to listening to one speaker. Co-presenting – having two or more speakers in the same speaking slot – has unique benefits.

  • Why it works: It provides more value to
  • the audience as they get to listen to at least two experts at once. It’s a great way for ‘newbie’ speakers to transition to solo speaking. This format is engaging, entertaining and educational for the audience.
  • Where to start: Your co-presenter is critical to the delivery of information, so it’s important to sit together and plan out how to best utilise stage-time.
  • Who to work with: Your fellow presenter should complement your ideas by providing a different perspective. Use your combined energy to create a fun and interactive learning experience for your audience.
  • How to do it: Think creatively – how do two or more people maximise a speaking slot? Easy: divide the time equally where each speaker has their solo time on stage; dynamic: both speakers move in and out of the stage speaking for five minutes at a time; relaxed: both speakers sit on bar stools and have a conversation with each other and the audience. Regardless of the format that you choose, always end with a panel interview to involve the audience.
  • What to prepare: Co-presenting can work for keynote talks, full-day workshops or to facilitate group discussions. Think in advance what you want your audience to gain from your talk and then plan the materials together. This could include slide hand-outs, pre-reading, files and notes. Merge your PowerPoint slides to ensure seamless integration and consistent use of font, colour-scheme, layout and design. Stage logistics could include use of a podium; flip-chart and Koki pens (extra-large tip); overhead projector and screens; lapel and roving microphones; bar tables and stools; and aside table for props.
  • When to speak: As a solo speaker, you are conducting a two-way conversation – yourself with the audience. As a co-presenter you are conducting at least a three-way conversation – as co-presenters with each other and individually with the audience.The dialogue with your co-presenters should therefore begin long before you both enter the stage.

Author: Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) is a business owner and public speaker trainer