If you are applying for a position that needs a presentation to be made to the interviewer(s), then confidence and effective communication skills is something you must possess. Usually, in a presentation interview, you are asked to make a presentation for a small group of individuals or just one interviewer. However, the formality of the situation demands that you prepare carefully, so as to conduct a coherent, brief, and persuasive presentation, which would fetch you that particular job.
It is very important to arrange the content that you have regarding the topic, in a precise manner. Your presentation should be properly structured, so as to leave an impression on the interviewer. Here's how you can structure it.
This slide/page will contain your presentation topic, your name, and the name of the company where you are making the presentation.
The first thing that the audience should know is, who you are and what your qualifications are. You don't need to brag about yourself too much though. Share information that is relevant to the job title.
About the Topic
Explain why you chose the topic in the first place, and what interests you about the subject. Also, highlight the key points regarding the relevance of the topic to the company's operations.
This is nothing but the index. Make sure you mention all the points that you will be highlighting in the presentation. This will give the interviewer a clear picture of the various aspects of the topic that you have touched upon.
The general information about the topic should be mentioned here. Make sure you write the introduction in brief.
Here, you should mention all the key points about the topic. This is the heart of your presentation. So keep it precise and to the point.
This will show your level of understanding about the topic you chose. Thus, over here, don't make any irrelevant comments regarding the topic.
It is a general practice to make a note of all the websites or magazines that you have referred to, in the presentation.
Lastly, don't forget to say 'Thank you'!
Lastly, don't forget to say 'Thank you'!
Planning the Presentation
As with any other typical public-speaking situation, plan the presentation in such a way that it meets the expectations of the audience.
Know Your Audience
Find out who all would be present for the interview for assessing your presentation skills. Ask the question, "Who's my audience?", directly to the interviewer. It is always better to play safe rather than ending up in an awkward situation. If possible, communicate with the primary interviewer prior to starting the presentation, and get to know what his way of thinking is. This will give you a brief idea about what is expected from the presentation. The more you get to know your audience, the better your presentation would automatically be.
Before the actual interview, you should do a thorough research on the company, and find out areas which demand particular skills and talents that you possess. Try to keep yourself updated regarding the latest market scenario, and also about the company's current market standings. Many companies send their prospectus to potential employees well in advance, so that they can have a better understanding of the company's operations. Read everything carefully before you make the presentation.
Manage Your Time
Once you are equipped with the related information regarding the company and what the interviewers are looking for, it is easier to plan your presentation. You need to keep the presentation time in mind as well, since most of the presentations are restricted to around 10 minutes. Ensure that the presentation is brief and precise.
Formulating the Appropriate Presentation
Once you are done with the planning, the next step is to formulate the presentation. Keeping the structure that you have planned in mind, you need to segregate the content accordingly.
Work Out the Structure
After you have devised the presentation plan, it is time to concentrate on its structure. The basic structure that works for all kinds of presentations is the introduction, core, and summary structure. It is necessary to give a precise introduction regarding the topic that is being presented. The core should highlight the key points about the topic, and then do the summary, which is nothing but the conclusion.
Focus on Illustrations
It is always advisable to include illustrations in your presentation, as they give a clearer picture about the facts that are being presented. Ensure that you show more slides with images, than those with only textual content, as image slides would aid you in communicating directly to the audience in a better way, whereas text slides would make you look diffident about what you want to present.
Keep the Content Precise
It is very important to keep the content of the presentation very precise. There are three main points that you need to focus on:
a. Key words
b. New ideas
a. Key words
b. New ideas
Identify the key words that you need to focus on and prepare the presentation on those lines. After the key words, the second point that the presentation needs to highlight is your knowledge and creativity. The employers are always in search of employees who are full of new ideas. This helps the firm in more than one ways.
Next, never forget to emphasize on your USP, i.e. what makes you different from your competitors. Explain the distinguishing points in a diplomatic manner to the interviewer. Remember, these are the points that might get you the job!
In the process of trying to highlight too many things through your presentation, you might end up doing a bit too much. It is necessary to make sure that you do not include too many slides for the given time. Five slides are recommended for a ten-minute presentation. Too many slides, and the presentation will have to be rushed through, and will cause confusion in the minds of the audience.
Look Out for Options
You may have the option of utilizing audio-visual aids, like a whiteboard or flip chart, to detail on your topic of presentation. If the company provides you with the essential equipment, well and good, otherwise it is always better to get your own stuff.
Conducting the Actual Presentation
On the day of the presentation, it is very important to keep your calm. Ensure that you have done enough practice before D-day.
Keep the Confidence Going
See the actual presentation situation as a stage performance. Ensure that you make it early, start the presentation on time, move and gesture with self-confidence, and maintain eye contact throughout. Don't stare at the walls or the ceiling. Always make eye contact with your audience, as this speaks volumes about your confidence.
Take the Questions
Keep the audience involved in the discussion by asking frequent reinforcing questions, like 'Don't you think?' or 'Isn't this Interesting?'. Take charge of the 'question and answer' section. Rephrase questions oftentimes to be sure that you heard the question correctly, which will also give you a little extra time to think about the answer. Do not be very prompt in giving an answer to a question before you truly understand it. Make it a point to end the presentation effectively and resolutely.
It always wise to keep backup copies of your presentation. Take printouts of the presentation and hand it over to your audience, so that they are in sync with you during the presentation. Also make sure you have taken a backup on a USB device. Most importantly, it is advisable to carry your own laptop, a fully-charged one though. You don't want to search for the charger while making the presentation, do you?
It is very important to make a good first impression. Men can wear a neutral-colored shirt with a dark-colored trouser. Ladies can opt for a skirt or trouser suit. Make sure your clothes are washed properly and neatly ironed. Don't go overboard with the accessories either. A smile will definitely help you score those extra points. The main point here is to make sure you look professional.
- Always stand up while delivering the presentation. It helps you make eye contact comfortably with your audience.
- Speak clearly and slowly while presenting. Don't be too quick or too slow while interacting with the audience.
- Stand still while making the presentation. Don't move your hands too much as it can be distracting.
- Sound passionate about the topic you are discussing. This will send a clear message to your interviewer, that you are interested in the job.
- Practice the presentation thoroughly before the big day.
- Keep your body language relaxed. Don't look tensed.
- Wear comfortable, fitting clothes.
- Keep a steady pace while delivering the presentation.
- Try and complete the presentation in the stipulated time.
Keep the confidence going while presenting, and make sure you leave a good impression on your interviewer. All the best!