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It’s All About Presentation

Presentation skills are everything in an oral interview. However, speaking to groups is one of the top fears among candidates. Most tend to panic.

Your test might include making a five to 15-minute presentation to a panel. The topic can be assigned or you can select one from a list. In some cases it might just be an oral resume.

Patricia Fripp, from the National Speakers Association, once said, “The toughest thing to do in making a speaking presentation, or an interview, is to be yourself on purpose.”

If you can’t give a talk or go to an oral board and be conversational and yourself on purpose, you are sending someone else to do the job. According to a study done by Stanford University, 85 percent of getting the job is your enthusiasm. If you light yourself on fire with enthusiasm in an interview or speaking presentation, the panel will almost stand up and applaud.

This simple formula from the book, “Inspire Any Audience,” by Tony Jeary, can help you through the process:

1. Introduction
2. Three major points — and examples to support major points
3. Questions and answers
4. Summary
5. Closing

The nugget here is to use K.I.S.S. (keep it simple sweetie). Most candidates complicate the presentation. They try to intellectualize the process and pack too much into their presentation. Many will waste time by trying to give a blueprint, when all that is needed is a sketch. The I.Q. of an audience drops when a presentation is given. Stick to the formula of “Nothing more, Nothing less.”

Five minutes will fly by and you won’t have enough time to deliver a stand up dog and pony show. Too many candidates will try to pull something too prolonged off, get delayed and get time called on them just as they are getting to their best stuff.

I personally wouldn’t use more than a flip chart for a presentation of less than 15 minutes — you just don’t have enough time. Remember, nothing can replace the power of your words. You can use an easel for your major points with color marking pens and a pencil to write your notes lightly in the margin that the panel will not see. This is all about presentation skills! Try not to stand behind a lectern — be out in front with the panel.

It’s also vital to remember to not have your presentation set in cement. If something unexpected happens during your presentation, use improv and go for it. It’s not what happens in the front of the room — the real action takes place in the audience.

A candidate once asked me this question:
Our oral resume is only allowed to be about five minutes. I know the other candidates well. I know several areas where my resume — college degree, experience and awards — far exceed theirs. Many of these areas are great strengths and show that I have leadership experience. Should I focus MORE on these areas knowing that they won’t be able to articulate the same level of experience?

I replied by asking how many badges were they were looking for? One, right? I warned the candidate against psyching themselves out concerning the other candidates — that’s mental masturbation.

By presenting your credentials in the format I’ve outlined, you’ll set the base line that will establish a high standard the raters will recognize and the other candidates won’t be able to cross.

There is only one person who is keep you from getting a badge — who do you think it is?

The proof is in the badges!

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