Interview presentations – The Performance
So you’ve been asked to present at an upcoming interview…. But you didn’t panic you read our advice on how to prepare perfect interview presentations. Spent the past few days/week crafting a beautiful PowerPoint presentation, that totally hits the brief and showcases your expertise on the topic.
But now it’s D Day and you’ve got to deliver it. This is where it could all go wrong. I’m sure everyone can think of an example of where a poor delivery ruins what would otherwise have been an interesting presentation. Whether that’s in a business or educational environment. How you deliver interview presentations and engage with your audience is make or break.
Some people are naturally gifted presenters who are at ease in front of an audience, others go into a state of shock, stuttering and spluttering their way through the slides. While it is impossible to totally take away any nerves, here are a few pointers to reduce any stress and help you to perform to the best of your ability on the day.
1. Prepare – failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you’ve not already, read our tips on preparing great interview presentations. Do some practice runs so you’re confident using the technology, clicking through the slides etc and you know what you’re saying and when. Print out your presentation, both with and without your notes. So, if all goes wrong and the laptop breaks for example, you can still present.
2. Don’t read – it’s tempting to have the whole presentation written out ready for you to read or learn by heart. But try to avoid this, reading from a script will mean your focus is on a piece of paper and not your audience. It’s easy to lose your way, fumbling around trying to find where you were doesn’t give the most confident of performances. Also, when reading people tend to use a more monotone voice as they aren’t speaking naturally.
Unless you’ve a photographic memory or are a Hollywood actor who is adept at learning lines, memorising your presentation also isn’t suggested. Nerves on the day could lead to a mind blank which will just add to your anxiety. It is better to know the point you want to get across for each slide and elaborate on it, or have some notes written down on key cards that you can easily flip through and discard. This will allow you to focus on your audience, give a more natural relaxed performance and to not panic should you be asked a question mid-presentation for example.
3. Body language – how you stand, speak etc will all have an impact. Whether you’re standing or sitting make sure you stand/sit up straight, with your arms uncrossed, face your audience (not the screen) and make eye contact with everyone you’re presenting too. Many people tend to fiddle when nervous, whether that’s biting nails, flicking hair or playing with rings etc. To avoid this, try to use your hands when presenting and when not in use hold them together in front of you and defiantly don’t fold them or put them in your pocket.
4. Speak up – when out of our comfort zone it’s easy to try and hide. To put your head down and speak quietly, but when presenting this is the worst thing you can do. Hold your head up and while you shouldn’t shout, speak up so everyone can hear. It’s easy to rush through what you want to say, so the whole thing is over and done with quickly, but take it slow. It’s better to speak at a slightly slower pace than normal and pause so people can take in what you’re saying. Tone is also important, as mentioned above, try to avoid an emotionless monotone delivery add some rise and fall and emphasis to your voice. This tends to happen naturally when speaking freely. Practicing in front of a mirror will help you assess your voice and how it sounds. There are lots of self-help videos online that give good advice on the subject.
5. Breath – nerves are your worse enemy and can turn even the most confident presenter into a jabbering wreck. The interviewers want you to succeed and aren’t there to catch you out. Take a deep breath and try to think of it as an exciting experience that could lead to an amazing new job rather than something you need to endure.
These tips along with our advice on preparing interview presentations will help you approach the task with confidence and deliver a presentation on the day that showcases your abilities and demonstrates how passionate you are about the role. Good luck...
However, if you’re not quite at the interview stage just yet, here are a few other job seeking hints and tips that will help you get your job search off to a flying start.