Help! I need to do a presentation

Congratulations – you’ve been invited to interview BUT there is a catch.  Along with the standard interview questions – you have been asked to do a short presentation.

This is not uncommon, especially for roles where you may be required to interact with stakeholders or clients, or you are in the training or education space.

Don’t panic! Follow these tips to ensure that you make an impactful presentation.

1. Know your time limit.  Read the email carefully and understand whether you have 10 or 15 mins for your presentation.  If you are unsure ring your contact and clarify your time limitations.

2. Understand what the presentation is meant to be about – that is, how the presentation topic relates to the job that you have applied for.  If there is no topic and the interview panel has left it open – make sure that you present on something relevant.

3. Start developing your presentation immediately.   Step one is to think carefully and strategically about what you are going to present and how. For example, will you be presenting with slides, have a handout or demonstrating an app?  The answer to this question will then guide your next steps.

1. Slides – typically this would be a Microsoft Power Point presentation.  We have all lived death by Power Point, so be sure to only have the bare minimum number of slides and make certain that they are easy to read; have a suitable image or graph that is relevant and capture your key words.  It is these key words that will give you the trigger to a smooth presentation.

2. Handouts – these should be targeted and easy to read; containing just enough information to be relevant but not so much information that it will distract the panel. Ideally as you make your discussion points, you will be able to move the panel member through the various pieces of information on your handout in a logical sequence.  You must have the flow of your information on your handout in sync with your talk.

3. Demonstrating an app.  Ideally this will also be able to be presented on a screen so that each part of your demonstration can be followed closely by the panel members.  To make the demonstration interesting use techniques to engage your audience.  This could include asking them direct questions such as ‘what would you like to see or something similar.  Obviously the right questions depend on what you are demonstrating.

So key points to cover:

  • Figure out what message you want to send.
  • Decide on your supporting points, keeping them brief.
  • Make sure you have done your research to ensure your points are valid.
  • Prepare your material (Power Point or handout)
  • Provide supporting detail such as a graph or image (if required)
  • Always triple check your work for errors, including spelling mistakes and incorrect capitalisation.
  • Revise your presentation constantly.
  • Get somebody else to review your presentation with you.  Ask them what could be improved.
  • Practice your presentation as many times as you can.  You need to be ‘pitch’ perfect and adhere to their time limit.  It will be very obvious if you have gone in underprepared.

But, if you want to sway the way your audience thinks and feels then you need to influence, motivate and persuade them to take action.  Decide on your audience-related objective. What do you want your audience to do, feel or think differently about based on your presentation?

Find out what you can about the audience.  After all, if you’re trying to convince your audience of something, you really need to know who they are how you can make your presentation relevant to them.  What will they want to see from those people who have been invited for interview?

Consider all the strategies that you might use to help you deliver (images, graphics, videos, stories, data, etc.)   What other ways could you present?  Perhaps a role play, a story, an anecdote or even an activity.

Consider how you will present yourself; how you will develop trust with the audience.  Practice, practice, practice. And it is not just the speaking, you will need to practice talking, conversing, and convincing, all while being your most relatable self.

Do you need help preparing for your interview or developing your presentation? Contact me for assistance.


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Cheers for now, Kate.