Career choicesPresentation skills

Presentation skills are an important aspect of many jobs. It is likely you will be asked to make a presentation as part of the job selection process. It gives an employer a chance to assess your communication skills and your ability to summarise and pass on information.

This section should give you a good idea of how to go about preparing and delivering a presentation. You can apply these guidelines to most situations in which you have to get up and talk in front of people.

Many people break into a sweat at the idea of having to talk in front of an audience, but giving a presentation does not need to be so traumatic.

Be prepared!

Preparation is the key to a good presentation. It can be the difference between a slick, compelling performance and a disaster. Poorly prepared presentations are likely to be either chaotic or boring. Fail to prepare and it is likely the information you are there to give, will not get across to your audience. Plus, you will feel much more confident about giving your presentation if you know your subject well.

Same-day presentations

In most cases you will be told in advance that a presentation is part of the interview process, but some interviewers like to spring it on you on the actual day. You will be given your subject and limited time for preparation. Make a plan so you make the most of the time you have: stay focused on your task and be clear about how you are going to prepare. Do not waste time chopping and changing your mind, you need to be decisive or you will run out of time.

Advance preparation

You have probably heard people say 'if you fail to prepare, you're preparing to fail'. Well - it is true! The preparation you do before the day will determine your success on the day. So you will need to do some research:

  • Know your topic - research it thoroughly.
  • Know your audience - ensure that what you are saying is relevant to them. Always keep your target audience in mind when planning your presentation.
  • Know the venue. This may sound obvious, but make sure you know exactly where it is. If you get lost or arrive late you will be panicked and flustered, which will affect your presentation.