The Co- in Co-Presenting

Photo by Lynn Gallagher

Photo by Lynn Gallagher

After posting about co-presenting and referencing Barry’s blog, my friend Chris Murman teased me via twitter in his good-natured way. There’s more to be said about co-presenting, it seems.

My version of co-presenting is this: two people standing and speaking on a topic together with both people sharing their thoughts and experiences naturally—playing off one another and the audience. This is not the “I take this section, and you take that section” version of co-presenting. While my co-presenter and I will often talk about where each of us might want to lead and share a great story or an interesting model, we’re both involved throughout the whole presentation with the group and can change things up on the fly. That’s what makes it exciting. Two people working together in real-time to share their wisdom with an audience requires trust.

Sometimes a presentation starts with a co-presenter, and we find a topic together. Other times I start with a topic and recruit a co-presenter who can contribute to the presentation a cool perspective. And once in a while, I have a fully baked presentation and see someone who is ripe for a speaking opportunity and invite them to join me.

Chris Murman happened to fall into the last category.

There was someone else who I wanted to co-present with so they could get public speaking experience, and we came up with a rough topic together. He wasn’t sure how much time he could commit to working on the presentation, and I assured him that I could handle the work and have him tag in at any time—everything would be ok. And as the conference date approached, he told me that he wouldn’t be able to join me. And that was totally ok. I had done everything possible to make this opportunity work, and it just wasn’t in the cards for us.

Coincidentally, around that same time Chris and I run into one another at DFW Scrum. He’s been struggling to accepted as a conference speaker, and he wanted to know if I could help him. Chris has had the unique experience of trying to deliver too fast in an agile environment, and we’ve been friends for years, so my answer was clear: ABSOLUTELY. “Want to co-present with me in January?” I asked. He said yes.

Chris is a fantastic co-presenter, and he brought a new dimension to the material that hadn’t existed before. And when he arrived at the conference, he shared that he’d been accepted to another one. On his own. With his fresh view on agile. That’s when I knew: 2016 was going to be the year of Chris Murman. We kicked off his conference journey together, and he’s been rocking it ever since.

Sometimes we stand on the shoulders of giants to get our start. Co-presenting can also mean discovering that we’ve each had the power to present all along. Being together just made it more fun.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.