Co-presenting With Someone You Don’t Know – Talking in Public

Co-presenting With Someone You Don’t Know

Did you have ballroom dancing as part of your high school years?

I did – we had to learn a few traditional steps so that we would be “prepared” for adult social life……probably gives you an indication of my age!!

I remember those sessions – knowing you would be paired with someone you barely knew to do a task you were apprehensive about for an audience (the teachers) that weren’t really interested in the outcome.

How can you make your presentation the opposite of this when you don’t know your co-presenter?

The obvious answer, of course, is to get to know them and perhaps even discuss the presentation before you have to actually do it.

Whilst this is the ideal scenario, it is not always possible so today I am firstly going to talk about how to make your presentation the best it can be when you have limited contact with your co-presenter beforehand.

Research – These days it’s easier to find out about someone via the internet. Bring those resources to bear by searching through, not just the wider internet, but more specifically within industry and professional areas. You may even find videos of previous presentations which can give you an idea of your co-presenter’s style.

Communicate – Once again we have a wealth of ways to make contact even when we are separated by oceans. Use the no cost technology at your fingertips with video calls (Zoom, Skype), emails and collaborative platforms such as Slack.

Plan and Prepare – When you are co-presenting it is even more important to know your audience and why you are co-presenting to them. Separate your information to showcase the strengths of each of the presenters and have a backup plan for when things go wrong or a co-presenter doesn’t show.

Practise – If you don’t have the opportunity to do a dry run electronically (Zoom, Skype etc), then practise with someone else locally giving them the information your co-presenter has planned to present from your preparation phase.


Now what happens when you have no contact with your co-presenter beforehand?

You should still do the research as I outlined earlier. Then you need to prepare your presentation as though you were going to do it alone.

When you get to the time for the presentation, I prefer to speak first so I can make an impact on the audience. On the occasions where I have had to follow a co-presenter I don’t know, I have listened very carefully to their presentation and adjusted my notes and speech to incorporate something from the co-presenter.

It’s a challenge but it’s not impossible!