Presentations at interview....

Have to give a presentation as part of the interview process? Gemma is here to help!

As if a job interview isn't stressful enough - now you have been asked to give a presentation as part of the process. Seriously??

Gemma has been delving into this and has put together her top 5 tips to help you ace that interview!

Know What You Are Working With 

As soon as you are asked to give a presentation, start by asking the hiring manager a few questions. Learn more about the topics you should present on, see how much time you have, and ask what technology, if any, you'll have access to. If you need extra technology/ power points etc- ask them in advance.

It's particularly important to ask to whom you will be presenting. What is the knowledge or expertise level of the audience? Will they be your colleagues, your bosses, or your potential clients? Knowing this will help you determine how to pitch your presentation, what focus you should take, and what tone would be most appropriate. 

Start With a Structure 

Once you have identified the purpose and key message of your presentation, you can start to structure it. Developing a clear structure will help you stay on point and help your audience follow you. 

Of course, you will want to make sure you have the basic components of a well-structured presentation, including a captivating introduction, a compelling argument in the body, and a memorable conclusion. But this is an interview, and you want to impress your audience. No matter what you are talking about, try to weave in examples of your skills and experience and show recommendations of how you would tackle a project for the company, or some other way of connecting your experience with what the employer needs. 

Prepare Aids 

No matter how exceptional a public speaker you are, most presentations benefit from a little help. Use a presentation tool (PowerPoint or similar) to highlight the key points you want to get across. But don't rely on these. You want your audience to be focusing on you and what you are saying, not your PowerPoint design. 

A good rule of thumb is to treat each slide with enough information to catch someone's attention, but not so much that you distract people. 

Also consider preparing handouts for the audience to keep, this can serve as a reminder of you and your presentation. Similar to slides, your handouts should call back to your key concepts and points, giving audience members exactly the information you want them to remember. 

Practice, Practice, Practice 

Once your presentation is structured and written, rehearse it. Practice it often, in front of other people if you can, or record yourself practicing. Ask for feedback, and incorporate that feedback into your edits. 

You will especially want to look out for nervous habits - saying um for example, or fidgeting, which makes your audience nervous for you. While you dont have to memorise your presentation, you should run through it enough times so that you are comfortable with it and can consciously avoid these habits. 

Ace the Delivery 

A solid delivery of your presentation begins before you even walk in the room. In other words, don't forget the interview basics: dressing professionally, carrying yourself with confidence, and wearing a smile on your face. 

Also pay attention to your body language when giving your presentation. You should be standing, not sitting down, as you speak. A great way to stand out from other candidates is to step out from behind the podium or a desk, bringing yourself out in front of the audience so they can see you, your gestures, and your stance. 

As you are giving your presentation, speak with confidence and authority. Make eye contact with different members of the audience to draw them in and engage them in what you are saying. Remind yourself to take a few deep breaths at various points- this will help you stay calm, and will also naturally slow your speech a bit (most people tend to speak quickly when giving a presentation). 

Presentations are always nerve-wracking, but remember that the audience wants you to succeed. The panel invited you in because they probably think you have something to offer, and they want to see more. Follow the steps above, and show them exactly what that is. 

Good luck!