As one newsreader earnestly tells us the most significant things that have happened in the past few hours, the other – sitting silently – nods, smiles, winces and occasionally raises an eyebrow.
I find the silent one annoying and distracting.
And our rule on that at Pink Elephant Communications is: if something underlines a presentation, keep it in.
If it undermines it, take it out.
Now I managed to avoid dual presentation in my more than two decades on the telly – largely because it was some time ago.
But I found myself dual presenting with my wife twice this week – once on camera and then on stage. Yes I found myself on camera nodding, smiling, wincing and even raising an eyebrow in silence. Because to sit there looking blank would only have undermined what Caroline had to say.
But mainly I looked at her as she spoke and she looked at me as I spoke.
That – I believe – is a better way of telling the audience that I was paying attention to what she was saying.
Now when we came to speak on stage on Thursday in the MGM Las Vegas to 1200 leaders in our network marketing business, we had to consider how to play the dual presentation for our 15-minute slot.
While tempted to look at the audience while Caroline was speaking to see how they were reacting to her presentation, I looked mainly at her.
The feedback was unexpected.
As we inched our way to dinner, being swept away by the sea of 17,000 attendees leaving the conference, four people made the same remark to me.
“You just looked at Caroline so lovingly up on stage!”
Well here’s the thing.
A large part of that is because of being married for 33 years. I just love seeing her shine in the spotlight having – at one time – been terrified of public speaking.
The other part is a presentation technique – whether on stage, in a meeting or out for dinner with friends.
Simply look at whoever is talking while listening to what they say.
It shows you’re paying attention.
It shows you’re interested.
While colleagues may be uncomfortable with you looking at them lovingly, they will enjoy you looking at them with interest and respect.
And that will underline their message – rather than undermine it.
Bill McFarlan is managing director of media training and presentation skills training firm Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can view his full profile here.
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