How to deliver a great presentation

The key to making an impact is preparation. Stick to the brief and the timelines and make it specific to the role you’re applying for – generic presentations are a no-no. And once you’ve done all that, practise, practise and practise some more.

Before working on content, determine your audience’s level of knowledge. It’s important not to bore or patronise your listeners with information they already know, but conversely, don’t overestimate their level of understanding either. If you’re not sure, you may like to begin by explaining what assumptions you’ve made about your audience’s understanding and how you’ve structured the presentation.

Don’t try to do too much. Keep your interview presentation visually succinct. Keep text to a minimum, highlighting your fundamental points only; reading aloud from a text heavy presentation is dull and uninspiring for your listener. You should use your slide to capture the main points of a particular argument, and talk around those points instead; your listeners will find this approach much more engaging.

Incorporate some meaningful examples and/or case studies to support your key points. Case studies should add weight to your argument. Only include information that’s accurate, and supportable if questioned.

Ensure that your presentation is visually accessible, using a large, clear font and unobtrusive graphics, and avoid gimmicky and distracting PowerPoint features.

Practise makes perfect – leave notes where you need to, and practise your presentation as if you were delivering it for your audience, and time it. If you’re concerned about overrunning, work out beforehand what slides you may be able to skip over during the presentation if time is tight. You should practically know your presentation inside out if you’ve prepared adequately.

While running through, attempt to put yourself in the mind of your audience; if you can, anticipate any questions that may crop up and prepare answers beforehand, or where necessary, resolve any pre-empted questions in your information.

A good conclusion will summarise the main points that you want your audience to take away. Any prominent, key ideas/selling points should be clearly and concisely reiterated at the end of the presentation.

Delivering your interview presentation

Prepare the experience for your audience if you’re given the opportunity; arrange the tables and chairs so that they’ll be able to view the presentation clearly and comfortably.

If you’re using your own laptop, ensure that you use your power cord to avoid awkward and unprecedented intermissions, and turn off your screen saver and your emails. Remember to introduce yourself properly.

Body language speaks volumes! If you’re able to easily and naturally move about the room don’t be afraid to do so; if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you could remain seated, keeping your body language as open as possible, but be aware that one of our clients’ biggest gripes is people who deliver presentations sitting down. If you want to make an impact, stand up. When presenting, remember to use your hands as a form of expression; your audience will enjoy it much more if they feel you’re energised and enthusiastic about your subject.

Speak steadily and clearly, especially at the beginning of your presentation, to calm any pesky nerves.

If you’ve compiled a leave piece, whether as a paper handout or on a USB stick, remember to distribute it at the end of the presentation. Circulating accompanying information beforehand may distract your listeners during the presentation.

If you’ve kept your presentation points succinct and talked around your subject, you’ll find it easy to make eye contact with your audience as you speak; it’ll help you engage with what you’re saying.

Ensure that you’re smartly, yet comfortably dressed and take water with you; talking at length can play havoc with your voice. If you’re suffering from any topical conditions, such as a cold, ensure you take provisions for this to avoid being distracted by minor irritations.