Today, 87% of global professionals believe that communicating with clarity directly impacts their career and income, so with the high number of candidates vying for jobs, it is more important than ever to feel confident about sharing or pitching ideas – particularly in pressurized interview scenarios.
As you face the interview stage, it’s increasingly likely that an employer will ask you to visualize your achievements and skill set in the form of a live presentation. Sales, marketing, public relations and teaching are just some of the careers which often request that candidates prepare a presentation to deliver live during the job interview. While you should not expect to give a presentation for entry-level jobs, they are becoming a staple in more senior roles across industries. If presenting and clear communication are part of the job role, there is a strong chance that you may be asked to provide a flavor of what you can do.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of presenting at a job interview, and even a little intimidated. Creating a dynamic and engaging presentation that effectively communicates your ideas is often easier said than done, and this is a frequent frustration shared by job-seekers when applying for roles. It is not just sales professionals that are required to update their CVs and make them more visually compelling and memorable. Presentations are necessary for a wide range of industries, including fashion, graphic design, education and financial services.
Regardless of the job you are applying for, candidates are keen to make their presentations both memorable and engaging. However, many often fall at the first hurdle and overdo it by creating an extraneous deck of long static slides. But don’t fear – there is a wide range of alternatives now available that can help even those with limited technological skills get their point across and dazzle their interviewer.
Here are eight expert tips on how to make your ideas shine through preparing and delivering a world class presentation:
1. Brainstorm without borders
From the outset, it is important to set aside time for brainstorming. Running your ideas past a friend or partner is a useful way to gain a fresh perspective, but you may find you need some additional help from elsewhere along the way. Many cloud-based presentation software packages allow real time collaboration between users online, so ideas can be shared instantly and inspiration can be gained from the work of others across the globe.
2. Choose the right technology
It is important that you choose a mode of presentation that you can operate with ease. You can make the ideas flow better by keeping the work in a platform or program that guides the entire process, from preparation through to presentation. However, make sure you take care with appearances – there are a range of tools that are certain to impress more than the tried and tested traditional style of PowerPoint, and different programs reflect different skills.
For example, PowToon is a free animated presentation software that may be best put to the test by animators or graphic designers. Another option is Prezi, an online tool which offers a 3D open canvas for presentations. For a more simplified version of PowerPoint, Google Drive Presentation allows multiple users to view or collaborate on the document online.
3. Have a clear structure
Structure can go a long way to boost your confidence and ensure you give a stellar performance. Make sure from the outset that you have a clear understanding of each of the relevant sections of the presentation. Each part of the presentation should naturally follow from the other. Introduce the subject: tell the audience what your presentation is about. Explain the points you wish to convey. End with a summary of your points.
Rehearsing is essential to feeling energetic on the day. Find what works best for you: speaking out loud to yourself in the shower, snatching up presentation tactics from Ted videos or familiarizing yourself with your presentation over and over. Keep it short and sweet. Remember to check with your interviewer if they’d prefer to keep the presentation open to questions anytime, or save them until the end.
5. Learn to channel nervous energy
Be wary of becoming too animated – waving hands can distract from your idea. The key is to relax but stay alert. Remaining calm, composed and confident in your delivery will help keep your audience’s attention on the content.
6. Talk naturally
Reading words off static slides is nobody’s idea of an exciting presentation. Prepare in advance and talk to your audience in a conversational (but not too chatty) tone. Even though the floor is yours, think of the presentation as a two-way conversation as your interviewer is following your chain of ideas.
7. Make eye contact
Connecting with your audience is essential to retain their interest. Once you start making eye contact, it will also make the presentation more comfortable for you – you can feel that you are truly part of an exchange of ideas.
8. Answer questions honestly and concisely
This is your chance to gauge the interest of your interviewer and explore knowledge and ideas that you could not fit into the presentation. However, if you don’t know the answer to a question, it is perfectly fine and even appreciated to say so, and offer to provide further information at a later date.
The key to effectively communicating ideas is translating them into a narrative that captivates or persuades your audience. For inspiration, go online and learn from others who do this well. There is no harm in using online resources to collaborate on a global scale.