Smothers Brothers. Click and Clack. Carpenters. Have you ever noticed that some of the greatest working teams were also people who spent a lifetime with each other? Each individual clearly had talent. Yet, their success came from the choice to work as a team. By working together, they were able to reach a wider audience and have a greater impact.
Speakers and workshop facilitators often have opportunities to co-present with another professional from their field. While at first glance one may think that sharing the stage with another person would reduce the workload by half, teaming with someone else actually requires more work and increased focus on different aspects of preparation. Furthermore, great teams log many hours–or a lifetime–finding their groove.
If you are considering teaming with someone, ask yourself if you are willing and ready to do the extra work that is involved. It’s true. The potential impact you may have as a team can dramatically exceed what you can accomplish as an individual, but that’s only true if you are willing to invest in making your partnership a great one.
If you think you are ready to take on the task of co-presenting, and you are sure you know and love the other person enough to go the distance, here are a four tips designed to keep you on track throughout your preparation:
1) Have discussions in advance about the roles you will fill. Will one person be the ‘lead’ while the other person provides support? Will this dynamic shift at any point of the presentation? Are both people okay with this model? What does each person need in order to fill his or her roles well?
2) Be 100% committed to making the other person look fantastic.
3) Set, in advance, the intention of being 100% present with your partner while you are working together. This is harder than it sounds. You will be focusing on being present with your audience too, and there will be great temptation to think about what you are doing next instead of really listening to what your partner is saying and doing with the group.
4) Acknowledge to yourself and your partner that it takes more skill and training to be part of an effective team than it does to be a solo act. If you doubt this, think about what it takes to keep a marriage or partnership healthy and alive versus living on one’s own.
5) When challenges arise, remind yourself that a team can accomplish exponentially more than any individual. Experiencing the power of team requires cultivating a skill set that goes beyond what you know as a do-it-yourselfer. Take time to reflect and review to see what is working well and where you still need to grow. From time to time, people slip up and slide back into how they would operate if they were in solo mode. When this happens, be willing to ask your partner for grace and forgiveness and recommit to what you are both working to create.