When faced with giving a eulogy at a funeral, Jerry Seinfeld famously said he’d rather be the one in the casket. And this coming from a professional! So it’s little wonder that when grads are asked to get up and compete for a job they really want by giving a presentation, it’s enough to turn their legs to jelly.
Here’s how to slay next time you’re asked to give a presentation.
To give yourself the best chance at nailing it, find out:
While you’ll want to appear relaxed and fluid when you’re up in front of recruiters or fellow candidates, you’ll need to plan your presentation down to the tiniest detail.
Beginning: Welcome your audience, let them know what you’ll be speaking about and the topics you’re going to cover. Or, if you’re presenting in a narrative style (more like a story), get their attention.
Middle: This should take up the bulk of the time, so if you have five minutes to speak this should last about three of them. Give a minute or so to each main point, don’t try to cover too much. Choose the most important things to talk about and cover those points really well.
End: This should be a summary of what you’ve covered, or should make the point of the story you’ve told.
Questions: Invite questions from the audience and give thoughtful considered responses. Thank your audience for their time, attention and participation.
You could be talking about the most boring or the most interesting topics in the whole wide world, but it’s how you deliver them that the audience will remember most.
If you’re making a complicated point, or the information you’re conveying is compelling, demonstrate and illuminate it with a visual. This could be anything from a chart to a diagram to a meme (just make sure it’s appropriate for your audience!). Keep your visuals simple, easy to read at a glance (don’t put too much information in), and make sure you keep them as an aid and don’t use them as a crutch.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Watch TED talks to get an understanding of more and less successful presenters, copy hand gestures you like the look of and do a recording of yourself delivering your presentation to the camera to get a clear picture of how your style stacks up. For even more practice, consider joining a Toastmasters group to refine your presentation skills and receive feedback from like-minded people. The more you practice, the more likely you are to nail the presentation.