So… you’ve written brilliant application forms, you’ve made it through the online tests, you’ve succeeded at the online video interview, and yes, you’ve even passed the Round One interview because you were totally prepared for all the tough competency questions they threw at you…
Then they ask you to make a presentation. You’re nervous of course… knees are weak, palms are sweaty… how do you perform well at this point, to ensure that you make it through to the next stage?
Well, although we train our clients extensively to make sure that they deliver incredible presentations, you might benefit from some advice that we often give to our clients at the start of the process. I hope this helps you to prepare effectively!
- Stand tall, look confident, and use silence (while looking directly at your audience) before you start your presentation, to get your audience engaged. When you start, give a big smile and say hello confidently, so that you look as if you are enjoying this and you seem as if you know what you are talking about.
- Be very careful not to talk too quickly! This is probably the most common mistake that presenters make. Speak much… more… slowly… than you usually do, and it will sound normal to the audience.
- Most of us need some kind of a prop, and I often hold a pen in my hands so it keeps them busy. I find it helps me to appear animated because I can wave my hands around using my pen, but everyone will have their own technique. The worst thing to do is to stand still, without changing your stance or moving your hands – that comes across as stilted and boring! If I’m in front of a big audience, I will walk around a bit, and if it is a small audience (5 or less), I will step forward and step back from time to time to emphasize points – maintaining eye contact all the time (see point 5 below).
- After the introduction, I will launch into the issues. Using the word ‘issues’ is quite smart because every presentation can always be broken down into different issues. Generally, I want to come up with at least 7, but probably not more than 10. I will go through one issue after the other, and I will be succinct in my explanation of each issue. For example: “I think that expansion into Poland is a major issue for the company. It matters because if they get it right, it seems that there is a potential for them to make an additional $5 million annually. This number is based upon XYZ… Another important issue is the technology used by the company. Some aspects of it are worrying, such as ABC…”
- As I am talking, I look each member of the audience in the eye, constantly moving eye contact from one to the other so that I keep everyone engaged.
- I always wrap things up with a quick summary of what I said to focus the minds of the audience, for example: “So, to summarize, I think the key issues are [list them – ideally using your hands to gesticulate the each numbered point]. That concludes my presentation. I’d love to hear any questions or comments. Thanks for listening!”
- At the end, make sure you’re smiling – again, this is vitally important to engage your audience!
- And finally, make very, very sure that you do not run over the time allowed.
I hope this has been helpful – good luck with smashing that video interview and, as always, I’d love to hear from you with any questions!