Dec 18, 2012

Presenting as a Team of Two

When we talk of presentations, we almost always visualise one person presenting. Have you ever seen two people presenting together? Have you ever presented as a team of two? Not  one after another, like students present their project, but together.

I saw, I think for the first time, two people present together a few weeks back at Nielsen Consumer 360 conference. It was pretty nice and gave me a lot to think about.

What it means to present as a team of two?
Let me clarify what it means to present together. Assume I am with you on stage. I am presenting Part 1 of the presentation and you stand with me. You keep asking questions, agreeing and disagreeing to what I say. Then you present Part 2 and I ask questions and seek clarification. That's what I call presenting as a team.

Benefits of presenting as a team
Come to think of it, there are many benefits of presenting as a team. One, higher audience attention. One presenter talking for too long can be boring. Two presenter swapping positions makes it interesting. What is interesting increases audience attention. Having two presenters can take your presentation a step closer to a 'play' (theatre) and hence make it more fun to watch.

Two, playing to your strength. Each one of us have certain areas of expertise. If two presenters are presenting, then they can divide which area who is more competent in. This way the audience gets a better quality of presentation.

Three, presenting two sides of an argument. If there are two points of view and there are pros and cons of each argument then it is very good to present as a team of two. One presenters fights for one side and the other fights against him/her. A heated and dramatic argument can charge the audience. In the end, the two of them can come to a conclusion but presenting two sides of the argument using two presenters is ideal.

Four, increased audience understanding. Most of us are shy to ask questions thinking it might be a 'stupid question'. If you think this is the case with your audience, then presenting as a team is a boon. The questions you want your audience to ask, if they don't ask, can be asked by the other presenter. He can take the role of the audience and question the presenter.

How to present as a team of two?
There are various benefits of presenting as a team. What does that mean? It means more effort on the part of the presenters. You need to prepare very well. Practice presenting as a team 10 times before the actual thing on stage. Divide sections of the presentation and ensure each section is long enough. If you have a 20 minute presentation, you can break it into four parts and present for 5 minute each.

While one presenter presents, the other one asks questions. This aids audience understanding. Just make sure you practice in more depth to ensure you remember what questions to ask and what clarifications to seek when.

If you have presented as a team of two, I would like to hear your story. Why you presented as a team and how did it go?