We gave a similar keynote presentation at the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) Conference in November. Although the content was similar, the format was very different. The biggest change was that we couldn’t see any of the over 500 participants.
In many ways, webinars are easier to lead than in-person presentations: you can use your notes, you are sitting down and you don’t have to think about your gestures.
There are also some challenges with this format: vocal mistakes are more noticeable, any background noise is a distraction and the only way to convey emotions is through your voice.
Technical risks are just as big. Fortunately, we had Sarah managing IT and production. She flawlessly managed the communication software, emceeing, polling questions and choreography.
What I loved most was the partnership the three of us shared. Like any productions, it takes a well-coordinated team to make them work well.
Here are some tips on how to partner on a presentation:
- Write a script―it improves flow and leaves little to chance
- Listen and be open to your partners’ recommendations―it leads to better quality and personal growth
- Show up well-rehearsed―this is a given for trust-building and ability to perform
- Arrive very early―remove a risk that would let down your audience and partners
- Practice as a team―co-presentations are like dances: you must be in step with your partner for them to look good
- Focus your practice time on transitions―hand-offs have the highest risk of going wrong
- Know the technology―Sarah was the expert, but she needed to educate us on its fine points for the recording to work well
- Discuss what could go wrong―contingency plans lead to fast corrections
- Have an sense of humour―it builds and communicates rapport
- Eat together―I remember Neil Peart, of the band Rush, talking about the importance of sharing meals with his band mates (Jocelyn shared his lunch with me twice!)
The presentation went well and as planned. We had a great time interacting with participants and ourselves. When we finished our closing comments and the recording ended, my first thought was ‘when would we get the opportunity to partner again?’ A partnership doesn’t get any better than this.