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You may be asked to prepare,
and deliver, a presentation as part of the interview process.
The employer will want to assess your oral communication skills.
Can you present your case in a way that your audience will understand
and find interesting?
Setting the scene
The employer may ask you to
prepare your speech before the day of your interview, or you
may be given a limited time for preparation once you have
arrived at the interviewer's premises. Sometimes you can choose
the subject of your talk, possibly from a list of suggested
titles. Otherwise, you will be given the topic. You will normally
be told the maximum time for the duration of your presentation,
for example three minutes or fifteen minutes. Audio-visual
equipment such as a whiteboard, overhead projector or flipchart
may be available. Your audience will consist of your interviewers
and possibly the other candidates. Expect the interviewers
to make notes as they assess your performance.
Examples of presentations requested
Tell us about yourself and
what you can offer this organisation (5 minutes, a very
Why I enjoy Latin-American
dancing (10 minutes, chosen by the employer. The candidate
mentioned this hobby on their application form)
Choose a science topic, currently
in the news, of interest to pupils aged 11 years (15 minutes,
interview for teacher training course)
Tips to improve your performance
Choose a subject about which
you feel confident to speak.
Who is your audience? Pitch
your message to their level of understanding.
Do not overwhelm with too
many details and figures.
Be explicit about the outline
of your content. State what you are going to talk about,
outline your main points and summarise your conclusions.
This is known as signposting.
Personal stories, anecdotes
and examples are often interesting and memorable. However,
telling jokes can be risky. The audience may not share your
sense of humour.
Practise delivering your talk
in front of a trusted friend or the mirror.
Ensure that the audience at
the back of the room can see and hear you.
Remember that the audience
wants you to succeed. They also want you to recover from
Reading your speech aloud can
sound stilted and you will not be able to look at your audience.
Use brief notes consisting of key words on note cards. Make
sure you number the cards and use large writing and a highlighter
pen so that you can follow them when under pressure.
Your body language
Be aware of your body language:
Smile, show enthusiasm and
the audience should respond more enthusiastically
Maintain a relaxed but confident
Make eye contact with individuals
in the audience, they will feel more involved
Avoid talking too fast or
too slow, try not to talk in a monotone
Don't fidget, the audience
may find this distracting and irritating.
Using visual aids
Visual aids should be used to
help the audience to understand the point you wish to make.
They can make your presentation more effective. People retain
10% of what they hear, but retain 50% of what they hear and
Keep it short and simple,
bullet points not sentences - too many words become a jumble
Use large print and bold images
If possible, use a variety
It is harder to spell and
write neatly - check what you have written
Don't block the audience's
view by standing between them and your visual aid
Don't talk to the screen,
talk to the group.
What can you do now?
Many people are afraid of speaking
publicly, but, the more you practise the more your performance
will improve. Learn to use an overhead projector. There is
a knack to using them confidently. Take opportunities to give
presentations to your fellow students.
'Two Whole Days!', AGCAS video
Communicating with Impact,
Atenar Publishing Ltd