Three Things Co-Presenters Need to Do

Posted 02.26.2013

oscars2013So, the awards season has officially ended now that we know who won Best Actor and Actress, Best Picture and all of the rest of the Oscars handed out at the Academy Awards. Apart from being a fan of the movies, I enjoy watching the show to see how professionals handle themselves when they have to present in front of a worldwide audience of millions.

One of the things that I’ve noticed year after year is that there are always co-presenters who step on each other’s lines. If you’ve watched the ceremony, you know what I mean. Two actors are on stage to present an award. They run through their banter and then announce the nominees. One of them says, “And the Oscar goes to…” as the envelope is opened. Then there’s a pregnant pause as they try to determine who’s actually going to say the name of the winner. It’s then that one of them will take the lead while the other one kind of mumbles the winner’s name or they both say it at once in an out of sync way. It’s not that big a deal, but it is kind of surprising. You’d think they would have had it worked out before they went on stage.

Most leaders find themselves in a co-presenter situation from time to time. For instance, if you’re working on a cross-functional project team, the chances are you will need to deliver presentations with multiple speakers playing a part. It’s harder to do than just presenting on your own because of the multiplier effect of extra people being involved.

Here are three things you and your co-presenters need to do to make sure that you deliver an award winning performance:

1. Prepare a script: You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) write out the presentation line by line, but you and your co-presenters should get together to determine and agree upon the objectives of the presentation and how it should flow to meet those objectives.

2. Know your roles and lines: Spend some time together to make sure that there’s a clear rationale for and agreement on who’s doing what during the presentation. Pay special attention to the timing for each presenter and the hand-offs between presenters.

3. Do a dress-rehearsal: Don’t allow the presentation itself to be the first time you’ve actually run through it together. Get together in person or virtually to do a dress rehearsal. Give each other feedback on what’s working and not working during your practice run. Make sure that you’re all clear on what you’re trying to accomplish in the real event and how you need to show up together to make that happen.

What other tips do you have for leaders who have to co-present with their colleagues?