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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t hide behind jargon. Tell them in plain language so they see an actual person.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.