Tips for delivering a strong presentation at interview

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Tips for delivering a strong presentation

 10th Sep 2019

You’ve just calmly delivered an engaging presentation with confidence to an attentive audience, all of whom have taken something useful away from it. At the door on the way out someone taps you on the shoulder and congratulates you on your natural presentation skills. That’s the dream, right?

When you’re in the interview process for your next role, or at your next meeting, you might have to give a presentation and you might feel like you’re awful at giving them. Here are a bunch of tips on how to give a great presentation, as well as tips on how to deal with the nerves that stunts so many people’s performance…

1 message per 1 slide. Don’t overcrowd your PowerPoint with a ton of points. The slides should only have a main message and act as a prompt for you to explain in further detail. One message per slide will keep things organized.

Consider your audience. What do they want to go away with? Don’t just tell them what you want to tell them, help the audience by seeing things from their point of view.

Use stories where possible. People don’t digest statements and statistics. Stories with people, names and events are far more memorable. This might not be possible if you’re delivering a presentation on company insights in a meeting, but if possible go back and forth between stories and statistics; between making and demonstrating your point.

Avoid over practicing your presentation word for word. Practice and know what you’re going to say, yes, but avoid word for word memorizing, you’ll become so focused on repeating exact words that’ll you’ll detach yourself form the actual message of your presentation and this will show through.

Body language. Eye contact. You don’t want to look like you’re staring someone out, but looking around the room disengages everyone. Make around 3 seconds of eye contact with each audience member. This is enough time to make a connection and to make someone feel included without things feeling weird or awkward. Also, present with open palms, this encourages people to trust you as it shows openness, hiding your hands can be indicative that you’re hiding something (which you definitely don’t want to convey in a job interview).

Dealing with nerves:

 

For some people giving a presentation triggers more than a little bit of adrenaline and they feel a level of anxiety that would be a more appropriate response to delivering a presentation in a pit of fire with a gun to their head.

You might have a great presentation, be fully prepared and qualified, you might know that you are right for the role, or that you know what you’re talking about in a meeting and that you can impress. Regardless, when you have to stand up in front of an audience you panic and mumble quietly, hoping the ground will swallow you sooner rather than later.

Make yourself big. not like your trying to ward off a bear attack, but instead of shrinking up like you feel like doing, use broad arm gestures and movement. This gives your adrenaline somewhere to go, as well as engaging your audience.

“I can NOT make eye contact.” I said above to make around 3 seconds of eye contact, but some people get so nervous they just can’t bring themselves to do this. Looking into someone’s eyes can trigger a fight or flight response that might stumble someone already nervous and make them lose a train of thought. If you absolutely cannot make eye contact, try looking at the bridge of someone’s nose instead, or to the back row if you’re presenting to a larger audience.

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