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Presentation for Job Interview - help DH prepare please!

(19 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 04-Sep-09 12:11:10

DH has an interview for a job in the voluntary sector. It will involve some project management, some supervision of staff/volunteers, liasing with partner agency managers.

Anyway, he has to prepare for 2 hours of interview, IT test and presentation.

Presentation is 10 mins, he is allowed to use a pre-prepared flip chart, and it is a question outlining the benefits of a particular project that he will be working on to 3 set client groups.

He has never done a presentation in his life before. He is very very very nervous, but he does know the subject matter well. I am pointing him in the right direction, but some tips, in particular from those who interview with presentations would be helpful.

I have advised him not to write using green or red pens, not to use capital letters (apart from where grammatically needed), to keep flip pages brief as a visual aid not to say everything he wants. Use it as a focus for the interviewers and for him to elaborate on any points made. I have advised him to use a cue card for his own benefit so he keeps more eye contact with the interviewers and less time turning to the flipchart, also to use post it/tags to mark each flip page.

Other tips please?

Blackduck Fri 04-Sep-09 12:19:28

Say what you are going to cover, cover it, say that you have covered it (IYSWIM!). I think there is a some advice about never more than 3 bullet points a sheet (gets too much to take in). Keep any bullet points short - they are notes, you don't want your audience reading them and not listening to you.
Practise, practise and practise again. Many interviews with presentations will be strict about time (including cutting you off mid sentence) so make sure you can deliver in the time fame given.
Introduce yourself and the topic and make it clear what you will cover.
Be prepared to take questions so never put up anything you aren't prepared to talk aboout.
Relax - they are only human!!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 04-Sep-09 12:24:01

Excellent! Thank you. Completely get what you are saying about stating what you are covering, covering then stating what you have covered.

Blackduck Fri 04-Sep-09 12:26:32

Oh don't crack jokes (unless you know the audience really well), but do smile and do try to make eye contact with everyone in the room. If he practises and as you said knows his subject he should find the cue cards unnecessary (but a nice security blanket!)

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 04-Sep-09 12:29:01

Yes, DH will have to watch that, as he tends to crack more jokes when he is nervous.

Blackduck Fri 04-Sep-09 12:35:35

I would say try not to pack too much in and whilst you need to practise, don't get to point where it is over-rehearsed. I have had to do presentations and to assess them. Key points are clarity (what was it all about?), coherence - you need to provide the anchors because unlike reading something the audience can't go back, keeping jargon/trade speak to a minimum unless you know your audience and know they will understand the terms, being 'open' which means trying to relax!

neversaydie Fri 04-Sep-09 19:51:31

I recruited for a technical position in the USA recently, and asked all the interview candidates to prepare a relevant 10 minute presentation. I was horrified when it put 2 or 3 fairly good candidates off and they withdrew.

For the record, when I ask candidates to speak to a subject, I want to know whether they can organise their thoughts, whether they know their stuff and whether they come across as reasonably sympathetic. I am not looking for a polished public speaker, and I always make allowances for nerves!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 04-Sep-09 21:47:12

Thank you neversay smile. He is struggling to keep it simple as he keeps getting all these ideas!!!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 06-Sep-09 09:58:03

Any other suggestions. He is getting there, it has taken surprisingly long for him to thrash out ideas and attempt to simplify it, but its coming along! He only had 15 cue cards grin He is aware he must get these down to 4 onsided max (i have said 2, but he is insistent this will not be possible) and these have everything he wants to say, he is spending today practicing his delivery and getting the cards down to prompt points only.

I am mostly concerned about his nerves. The topic matter he knows. he is not winging the information he is presenting, so if there are any questions he can respond with lots more info that he will be given, can explain, justify etc, BUT he is worried about them grilling him, he is worried about making a mistake and misinterpreting some of their definitions (no need to worry).

Any nerve calming tips that are legal? wink grin

Blackduck Sun 06-Sep-09 10:03:54

Getting it down to 10mins is always difficult in my view, which is why it is crucial to say what you are going to cover (and thus by implication what you are NOT going to cover), even say 'this is necessarily simplified, broadbrush, overview, whatever to indicate you know there is more to it! Key thing is he can present clearly, concisely and stick to the brief (I take it he was given a title/question/topic).

Calming tips - deep breath, speak slowly and clearly and remember you are there because they think you can do it. The odd stumble is allowed grin. Largely people watching presentations are thanking their lucky stars they aren't the ones doing it!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 06-Sep-09 10:12:52

Thanks blackdug - yes brief is a simple question which he could talk about for hours! (describe the benefits of xxxx project on 3 target groups (named generally not specifically) . So the first thing he has decided to do is to define the 3 groups, as one in particular could be widened to cover so many things, so he is stating that he acknowledges a potential wider audience but in the timeframe allowed he is concentrating on it being in the context of a).

He is struggling to get his head around the summary/conclusion being basically a repeat of his opening, he thinks he needs to come out with some clever inspiring conclusion, rather than just bringing it all back together (I told him I wish I was doing it for him, I love this kind of stuff! get a bit of a buzz from it! sad eh?)

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 06-Sep-09 10:13:21

blackduck not blackdug blush fingers not paying attention!

neversaydie Sun 06-Sep-09 16:42:08

He should rehearse if at all possible, and preferably in front of a real audience - you or some other willing volunteer. Just be careful to keep the feedback positive and supportive now he hasn't much time to regroup.

The very first time I presented some of my PhD work at a seminar, my wonderful flat-mate dragged me into a lecture theatre and made me go through what I had to say until it was smooth and I was comfortable with the process. I was an absolute disaster when we started (very nervous) but on the day won a prize for the best newcomer for my presentation. These days, I do a lot of technical presentations to all sorts of people, and I owe an awful lot to the help she gave me.

Good luck to your DH tomorrow!

tethersend Sun 06-Sep-09 17:10:51

If possible, produce handouts of, for example, the structure of the presentation; that way, if he runs out of time, they will have a clear picture of where he was intending to go.

The handouts should not be wordy, but could include bullet points, examples/definitions of different client groups or visual examples of key points, thus saving him time explaining details.

Handouts will also be useful for the interview panel to refer to once he has left the room and they are making a decision; again, keep them to a minimum, perhaps one or two sheets maximum.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Mon 07-Sep-09 17:37:06

Thanks all. It is tomorrow not today.

He has practiced several times yesterday and gone from very wooden to a lot smoother. He has got it to 12 mins, with lots of erms, oh shit what was I going to say there etc, so take all that out and he will be fine.

He will practice more this evening, and re-write his cue cards. He is almost there.

squix Mon 07-Sep-09 20:22:05

One final tip, if he is using preprepared flip charts, is to stand back from them and read them, to make sure that his audience will be able to see them from a distance.

I always think that if someone is nervous it shows just how much they care about what they are presenting and if he is well rehearsed and organised, then I am sure that he will be able to let his passion for the subject shine through.

Good luck

neversaydie Mon 07-Sep-09 21:22:25

Yes, good luck, and please let us know how it went.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Tue 08-Sep-09 14:50:32

He did it! He won't hear til end of the week, but he felt it went well, he felt all of it went well apart from having to do a budgetting spreadsheet in the IT test ! He said he feels he really put himself out there, he was a little nervous, slightly shakey hands but calmed down after a minute or so, did not flounder his words, but possibly not as much eye contact as he could have had. He said he took the questions and answers at the end of the interiew part (where he asked some questions) to clarify some of the points on his presentation, saying 'i spoke as if xyz was true, in actual fact, I was not able to know for sure, although I researched, where does the org stand on that?' and was told they were still assessing their role in x, and that he could not possibly know for sure what his role would be before doing the job!

The presentation was just over 8 mins.

He felt he got some good responses in to answers, had no areas where he could not answer, but as always wishes he had said more/different things to some of the questions. This is normal though eh?!

The only thing that concerned him was that they had no questions in response to his presentation and he was expecting them to. But its out of his hands now, he feels he did his best and if someone else did better than him on the day, he could not have done it better.

Blackduck Fri 11-Sep-09 09:59:17

Any news??

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