Presentations are still a key part of many interviews. While the classic PowerPoint slideshow may not be the number one choice of tool for many it’s frequently a good fall-back, and whichever technology you choose, presenting as part of an interview is frequently a challenge with many hurdles. Here are 8 tips and tricks that may help you land your dream job by presenting the ideal presentation.
1. Keep your presentation short – after you initially create the presentation, run through it with a critical eye and cut anything that is extra and doesn’t add to the value of the presentation.
2. Keep the presentation simple – if you have to use a theme for example, don’t use a complicated or colourful one. It’s the message, not the messenger that’s important.
3. Anticipate any questions the presentation raises. Know the answers to the obvious questions. As you create your deck, but especially as you near completion, think of what questions each slide raises. In other words, run through the presentation as if you were the interviewer. What questions might they ask? What question might a specific slide raise? Are some of your points too open-ended?
4. Prepare well in advance. Allow yourself plenty of time to create your presentation. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to use Prezzi rather than Powerpoint, but an interview, especially at shot notice, might not be the time to experiment or learn a new tool. Stick with the tool you know can do the job in the time you have.
5. Use the slides as a cue rather than the crux of the presentation. If all you’re doing during the presentation is reading the slides robotically then you’re not showing your enthusiasm for the role. The presentation, as much is it seems to be the overriding requirement in terms of progressing, is just a vehicle that showcases your skills and most importantly, your enthusiasm for the job. In other words the focus is not to showcase your talent with Powerpoint, it’s to showcase your talents as a candidate. Like any presentation, it’s critical to know your target audience and goal.
6. Be flexible as you present. You may have to adjust your presentation on the fly. Sometimes you’ll realise your tack is off a bit – time it short, you’re in danger of losing the audience or they may be other reasons. But you may have to skip a slide or two to get back on track. ‘I was going to talk about X but time doesn’t permit so I’ll skip this next slide…’ is a valid approach.
7. Prepare your delivery. It may be worth checking with the interviewer how long you have for your presentation. Then tailor and time your presentation to finish, without questions, in 2/3 of that time, with the balance for the questions.
8. Prepare your technology. I far prefer to deliver my presentations on my own laptop, but what if you forget your power supply, have your laptop stolen, or more likely, can’t connect your laptop with the screen (hey, it’s simple enough but how many times have you seen people struggle with the RBG/USB/KVM connection?). Sometimes you may not have the option to present using your own laptop. Just in case of these or other eventualities, copy your presentation to a USB drive, test it, and keep that as a backup.
Want more tips on Presenting at an Interview? Read our useful advice on Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills.
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