Interviews and assessment centres can be nerve-wracking enough, without the additional pressure of an interview presentation as part of the process.
However, a presentation is a great opportunity for you to showcase your skills and stand out from the crowd. Stop, breathe and be calm – the key to presentation success is being prepared. Here are Zoek’s top tips for how to write an interview presentation and the best way to deliver a presentation with impact.
Have A Clear Message
Keep in mind the main point you want to get across – people can only absorb so much information, so you need to bear in mind what your key messages are. Aim to have no more than three.
Structure Your Interview Presentation
Make sure the structure of your presentation is clear. You need to include:
- Introduce yourself and the subject indicating how long you are going to speak for
- Outline your main themes
- Say when you’d like to take questions
- Define sections or themes within the presentation to ensure your argument has a logical structure
- Refer to your plan after each point to let your audience know where you are in the presentation and where you are going next
- If presenting an argument, first give points in favour, and secondly, against
- Summarise your key themes
- Thank the audience for listening
- Finally, invite them to ask questions
Do your research
What position(s) to do they hold within the company? You can find out a lot through online research on sites such as LinkedIn, or by asking others who work with them. Think about your presentation from their individual perspective and consider what aspects of the topic will most interest them. Do your research on the company as well as the topic of your presentation. Check out the company website for information. Find out the relevant facts and figures – this can enhance your credibility and help you to tailor your presentation to the needs of your interviewer(s).
Less Is More
The most effective presentation slides are clear and uncrowded. The fewer words on screen, the more your audience will be focused on you and what you’re saying. Remember, you don’t have to put all your points onto your slides – you can elaborate on them verbally.
Use Visual Aids
Use graphs and charts, diagrams, pictures and video where appropriate. Visual aids should help to illustrate and support your points, not distract from what you are saying. Keep visual aids simple and relevant, don’t overdo it.
If you have a complex diagram or figures you want to communicate to your audience, offer a hand-out at the beginning of the presentation. Otherwise, provide hand-outs at the end – this avoids the audience reading instead of listening to you. Slides don’t make good hand-outs.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
It is a good idea to run through your presentation with someone before you finalise the content. It will help you find out if there is something obvious you have neglected to mention and practice. Ask someone to test you with follow up questions and see how well prepared you are.
Slow Down and make eye contact
Take your time over each word you say, this will help you sound more confident and speak at a steady pace, allowing your audience to follow more easily. Pause at the end of each sentence to help control your speed and allow you to collect your thoughts before the next sentence. Make eye contact to connect with your audience. The key is to keep shifting eye contact to make sure you keep everyone engaged with what you’re saying. Move around and, if possible, use a remote clicker to control your presentation.
Don’t read directly from your slides – keep your audience interested by engaging with them instead. While it’s a good idea to have reference cards, keep these to simple keywords. That way you can jog your memory if necessary, but you won’t be tempted to just read from the card, and can maintain good eye contact with your audience.
Don’t spend too long worrying about your voice and hand gestures, talk naturally and be yourself. Your most effective presentations will be the ones where you put all your energy into the presentation. Enjoy the experience and don’t forget to smile.
Predict Follow Up Questions
Go through your presentation and work out what questions the audience might ask, especially given their job roles and individual perspectives. Prepare an answer to these questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to a question, it is perfectly fine and even appreciated to say so.
Delivered well, with the desired impact, a presentation can certainly enhance your chances of success.
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