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The most common mistakes made in presentations

Looking to change jobs?

Having to present to a prospective employer can be a nervous and often daunting experience.

Ensuring your content is engaging, relevant and delivered to a professional standard can be a tough act to pull off.

Whether your prospective employer has a topic in mind, or you’re given free rein to present on a topic of your choice, the following advice should help you with your next interview presentation.


Why a presentation?

The person or persons sat across from you will want to test how you can communicate, influence and engage on a personal level. They will also want to hear your thoughts, views and opinions and assess your strengths against criteria such as creativity and project management skills. 


The most common mistakes

Believe it or not, the most common errors are not always found in your delivery. 

1)    Failure to follow the brief
Read the question carefully and answer it. It sounds simple, but the top mistake across the board is candidates not doing what they’ve been asked to do. It's ok to clarify the brief prior to the interview if you’re unsure or the question isn’t clear. 

2)    Overcomplicating the task
If your prospective employer has asked you not to use PowerPoint, don’t use it. Perhaps they want to hear you speak without the aid of a screen or the supporting technology is not available. Either way, think creatively around the task and demonstrate your communication skills in a more creative, unique way. 

3)    Lack of preparation

Careful preparation is essential. If you think about the last time you were inspired by a presenter, the chances are they took days or weeks to prepare. Only a handful of people can deliver truly engaging presentations off the cuff, so take your time, know your subject, and only glance at your notes when you need to.

4)    T.M.I. (too much information)
You will most likely be set a strict timescale for delivering the presentation. Practice as much as you can prior to the interview so you cover off all your key points before they call time. If you’re using PowerPoint, we recommend no more than 3-5 key bullet points on each slide as you want them to be looking at you…not your slides.   

5)    Talking to quickly 

Speeding up at the start of a presentation is a common mistake. This is the adrenalin and the nerves talking, so remember the pace and speed of what you’re saying needs to be similar to a conversational tone you’d be having with a colleague.  Again practice makes perfect, so get in front of the mirror, set your timer, take a deep breath and go.

Our 7 top tips for acing your presentation

The chances are your next interview will have a presentation as part of the assessment. Here’s the Hudson insider track on how to make the most of your time in the spotlight:

1)    Rehearse and finalise your presentation, then cut 20% 
Think you’ve nailed it? The final edit needs to be cut by a further 20% to ensure your content is concise, and you run to time. 

2)    Never put more text on a slide than you would on a t-shirt
Less is more. Never has this been truer than when you’re dealing with a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation.

3)    Limit yourself to 3-5 punchy bullet points per slide
Remember, the attention should be on you, not the slides. Keep it minimal.

4)    Make eye contact with your audience, it’s a crucial way to connect 
Nothing demonstrates a confident, assured candidate more than eye contact.

5)    Check your body language 
In particular the way you stand, move and animate your hands. 

6)    The end of your presentation will be what they remember, so craft it well. 
Summarise all your key points and thank your audience for listening. 

7)    Expect some Q&A
Throughout your presentation put yourself in the interviewers' chair. Think about what they might ask you... and have an answer ready.

More interview advice
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