More and more job posts and interviews involve giving some kind of presentation to the panel. This is particularly true if you’re going for a position that requires leading a team or talking to clients.
While a number of factors will determine whether you get that job or not, doing well in the presentation is important. Here are some quick tips for getting it right on interview day.
Obviously, the biggest thing you need to focus on is what you are going to say. That means having a clear message and a single focused point. Most presentations last about five minutes or so. You shouldn’t cloud your talk by trying to fit too much in. On the other hand, you also want to approach it in such a way that it has impact. Getting the balance comes down to planning properly in the first place.
The purpose of the presentation is probably not solely to test your knowledge. It’s usually to look at your communication skills and how you are able to influence and engage an audience. The panel may also be looking at the quality of your thinking, whether you are innovative in your thought process and how you bring this across in front of people.
It can be tempting to cram a lot of information into your presentation spot. Don’t be afraid to slow it down a bit, however, and always remember that less is generally better than more. It not only creates a clearer message but also allows you to get your personality and confidence across better.
Make sure that you fill the time you have been given but don’t go over the limit. It shows that you’re organised enough to manage the parameters and guidelines you have been set. Practice your presentation in front of the mirror with a timer and you should get it just right on the day.
As with the interview as a whole, you need to do your research about the job and understand what your audience is looking for. Nowadays you can pick up all sorts of information online so ignorance is no real excuse. You want to pitch your presentation at their knowledge level and not just throw a one size fits all diatribe at the panel. That can be a fine balancing act but it’s certainly not impossible.
Whatever you’re talking about, the panel may well want to ask follow up questions. These can be almost as important as the presentation itself. Make a list of the potential questions that you think might be asked and have good answers ready.
Especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever done a presentation, the key to success is practice. The more you can run through your script the more natural you’ll be. If you don’t have an audience, do it in front of a mirror or record yourself using a smartphone. Be critical and get feedback and hone your performance as much as possible.
Ideally, if you put all the above process in place, you should produce a relaxed and professional presentation for the interview panel. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting the effort in if you want to succeed.