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Strategies for sharing a platform

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One of my facilitation assignments included a request from the client that included team teaching. Two contractors were assigned to each scheduled class session. This was a unique opportunity, but had the complicated effect of coordination, single messaging and teamwork.

The following is a suggested checklist for a successful team presentation:

1. Both speakers must have a complete understanding of the material.

2. The speakers should meet and discuss division of labor. That discussion should include shared platform and single platform time. Also, how preparations are to be made, materials handled, etc.

3. Agreements should be made about how to interrupt each other, how to make a correction, how to handle questions.

4. At the start of the class, these strategies should be discussed with the class participants.

5. Efforts should be made to make the presentation as seamless as if only one presenter was presenting the material

6. However, the benefits of two presenters should emphasized.

7. Personalities, differing senses of humor, differing styles are all strengths that should be emphasized.

8. Seeking feedback from the participants will allow for mid-course corrections.

9. Do not allow for issues around a stronger presenter. Don't allow the audience to influence decisions around presenter time or presentations of certain material.

10. Exercises and feedback sessions should be equally divided amongst the presenters. Do not let presenters stay with a group the entire session. In other words, a participant should hear equal amounts of feedback from both presenters.

With moderate differences, the above rules also apply to more limited speaking, facilitation or webinar presentations. Taking into consideration of less time, little or no interactivity, the sessions can be equally successful and effective.

A few final caveats:

The audience does not know where you are going, even if you have a power point or some other type of visual aids. In longer sessions accompanied by a manual the same caveat applies. It is ok to make a mistake and miss something and come back to it later.

It is also ok for the presenters to talk to each other. Asking for help, asking for substitution and any of a number of things is ok. Again, the audience will not mind these types of questions and will consider them as useful to the overall presentation.

Use of more than one presenter can be a real benefit to the material. Try it with a colleague sometime and watch for the inevitable positive feedback come in from your audience.

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