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How to ace an interview presentation

Author: Emma Allison
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What’s more nerve-wracking than an interview? An interview that includes a presentation!

In today’s competitive job market, more and more companies are using presentations as a way of pushing candidates to display their communication and organisational skills, as well as demonstrating, in detail, why they are the best person for the role. So how do you deliver the perfect presentation and what are the best ways to impress?

Understand the brief

The key to a great interview presentation is understanding what the interviewer wants to see and making sure that you show it. Before you dive straight into your research and start putting down your ideas, read the brief a number of times to check you’ve really understood the topic. If there is anything that you’re unsure of, ask for clarification. It’s always better to check, than to not check and get it wrong.

Keep each slide to a minimum

We’ve all heard of ‘death by Powerpoint’ and it’s true that some of the worst presentations consist of slides crammed with so much text, they makes your eyes hurt. Presentations are there to compliment what you’re saying, so only pull out key information and important points for your slides. Don’t make the mistake of including everything you want to say, as your audience will read, rather than listen and engage with your points.

I’ve found that the best approach is to write out your presentation first in Word. That way you can organise your thoughts, decide on what you’re going to say and then design your slides using only crucial information from each section.

Show your worth

No matter what topic you’ve been set for your presentation, the end goal is always the same – prove how you’re the best person for the job. To get this right, make sure you re-read the job description and note down the skills and responsibilities for the role that you want to display during your presentation. Going five minutes over the agreed limit isn’t going to show off your talent for time keeping and a single spelling mistake will likely ruin your chances of getting a role that involves proof reading.

Always have a backup plan

It may sound overly cautious but always make sure that you have a Plan B AND a Plan C. Just because you’ve saved your presentation to a USB, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work when you plug it in at the start of the interview. Technology often has a way of playing up at the worst possible moments, like the time my phone died on the way to my Forward Role interview, despite having more than enough battery when I left home. Although I had printed a backup copy of my presentation, just in case, the notes for each slide were only on my phone – queue panic! Thankfully I’d packed a charger and I was able to restart my phone in enough time.

Be confident

Being confident is much easier said than done, but it is crucial when delivering an interview presentation. If you’re already feeling anxious about the thought of standing up and speaking in front of strangers, practice as many times as you can until the words start to feel more familiar. You’re automatically going to be more confident when talking about a topic you’re used to. Still unsure of yourself… adopt the ‘fake it until you feel it’ approach!

Predict follow up questions

If it’s not the presentation itself that fills you with dread, but rather the Q&A at the end. Prepare yourself by writing down all of the questions you don’t want to be asked. If you’ve already pre-empted the worst and take the time to come up with some responses you’re satisfied with, you’ll be much more confident about answering those tricky interview questions.

Interview presentations are challenging but if you give yourself enough time to work on your content, run through your slides a couple of times and check for pesky typos – you’ll be off to a great start!

For more interview presentation help and advice get in touch with the team.

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