Job interviews: ‘Presentation Challenge’ - 17th October 2016

In the later stages of the recruitment process, you may be asked to do a presentation. Below are our tips to anyone preparing a presentation for a job interview.  The best and most concise advice came from John Wayne. When asked the secret of his acting success he said:

“Talk low. Talk slow. And don’t say too much.”

 

YOU MUST:

  1. PREPARE THOROUGHLY

You can say too much but it’s unlikely you can prepare too much. Map out your content and know it well. It shouldn’t read like a script but a clear structure is essential. Practise it too, a few times.

  1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Keeping it simple becomes the most complicated thing for many people! 3 main points should be your aim. If you find 3 impossible, try 3 main headlines with sub-sections below each.

  1. HAVE END IN MIND

Always begin with the end in mind. What will the interviewing panel or person think about you and feel about you at the end of your presentation? Everything you do and say is about creating that feeling.

  1. FOCUS ON DELIVERY

It’s unlikely you’ll come up with ideas or strategies they haven’t already considered. It’s the way you prepare and present that they’re really assessing, not your brilliant ideas.

 

PLEASE AVOID:

  • TALKING FOR TOO LONG

The default in presentations (made worse by nerves) is to talk too much, and to think that content and information are the key. No, engagement is the key. Keep it short and, if possible, make it interactive.

  • USING GRAPHICS TOO MUCH

Making slides the strongest part of your presentation won’t work (unless making slides is the job!). They want to listen, not read a screen. Slides tend to make you talk to a screen too, a real no-no.

  • GETTING TONGUE-TIED

Going blank is the fear for most people and it’s a rational fear. You minimise this by two factors: keeping it simple and practising in advance. Very brief notes (headlines only) will help you too.

  • TALKING TOO QUICKLY

It is not a race to finish! Under pressure, we all talk too quickly. Having a structure helps, especially if you consciously pause for a second or two between each part. Breathe, relax, keep eye contact.

  • GOING FLAT

Few things kill your chance of a job offer more than boring people! The longer you talk, the more likely that you’ll lose energy. Mix it up. Make it upbeat. Keep points short. Sentences too. Interact. Ok?