You’re the presentation – not the slideshow

Q: I’ve an interview for manager of a business incubation centre. They want me to present for ten minutes on ‘What I will achieve in the first year’ – but, and here’s the rub, they have stipulated that I can’t use PowerPoint or Prezi. Zero technology. How should I approach this? (EH, email).

A: With relish, writes Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers. 

Liam Horan, BALLINROBE Tel: 094 95 42965

PowerPoint, and its flashier, younger cousin Prezi, can lead candidates off down the wrong road.

Should I change the background colour?

Is this graphic too trivial?

Does my table look big in this?

A presentation is about you, not the technology. You have the advantage here of not being allowed to use technology so, instead, you’ve simply got to focus on what matters: how you will solve their problem.

Some key points:

  1. Get to the point – start with impact. Don’t spend two minutes giving them a limp overview of what you’re going to tell them. Just tell them. 
  2. Have ideas for the role – concrete ideas, actual things you plan to do. Quantify them. “In three months, I will…” I find that many candidates tend to imply things when they should really be explicit.
  3. Don’t hide behind jargon. Tell them in plain language so they see an actual person.
  4. Are you obliged to use up the full ten minutes? I suspect they’ve specified a maximum of ten minutes. If you can capture their attention, and then hold it for six minutes, that might be just about right. Attention spans have shortened. I said, attention spans have shortened.
  5. Don’t try to cover too much. Aim to go a mile deep on a few key elements of what you want to cover, rather than going a mile wide to glance off a whole range of items.
  6. All the other usual ones – eye contact; if you tend to talk with your hands, don’t suppress the tendency; and remember that you are selling yourself as the right candidate for the job, not giving a consultant’s overview of the position. Sleeves up, get stuck in and bring the job to life in front of their eyes.