Some employers require shortlisted candidates to give a presentation as part of the screening process. The thought of giving such a presentation can be daunting, but it can also be a perfect way to showcase just what a great fit you are for the vacant position. Make your presentation as impressive as your test and interview results, and you’re more likely to be the winning candidate.
Related: 3 Pre-Interview Confidence Boosters
If you’re not used to presenting (and even if your are!), it’s very common to feel nervous at the prospect. This is natural – it’s the “flight-or-fight response” you’ve probably heard about: the body’s automatic and unconscious reaction to anything perceived (rationally or not) as a threat. Restless motion, shaking hands, and other tremors, sweating, difficulty speaking – these are some of the more common manifestations.
Fortunately, there are a number of fundamental, guiding beliefs – coupled with practical, doable actions – for getting these involuntary physiological reactions under control. Let’s look at three of them…
Presentation Anxiety Is All In The Mind
You may wonder why some people seem to be brimming with confidence during an interview presentation. The answer is quite simple: they are aware that not all challenges are life-threatening.
The belief that an interview presentation is a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, is a good, positive way of thinking. Achieving such an outlook is sometimes easier said than done, though. So, in order to gain or strengthen an optimistic approach, complement your positive thoughts with these concrete techniques:
Prepare – Research your topic well, then structure your content to cover the pertinent essentials. Add a story or stories (another item to find as part of your research), integrating them with relevant to make your presentation more interesting. Clever placement of audio-visual aids reinforces key points and heightens interest.
Practice – Rehearsal allows you to present your ideas verbally and non-verbally in an effective manner. It helps you become more articulate and composed. It allows you to adjust your presentation style as you go along.
Improving Presentation Skills Is A Process
While optimism and pre-presentation preparation are great helps, there is a more gradual, longer-term process for overcoming anxiety.
The process begins with self-awareness. Why do you feel threatened by the prospect of an interview presentation? Is it because you have a shy disposition? Did you run into a mental block during a previous talk? When you were a child, were you discouraged or prevented from voicing your feelings or thoughts? It’s helpful to know the roots of your anxiety because it’s at those roots that you’ll begin picking up the pieces.
Once you have an idea of the roots of your anxiety, the next step is to grab opportunities for expressing your thoughts aloud.
- Do your family dinner gatherings start with a toast? Propose a toast yourself, expressing your good wishes.
- Is there a resort or vacation spot you’d like to recommend to your classmates or colleagues, for a summer getaway? Tell them (as a group) during your next gathering.
- Is your company looking for an employee who can facilitate an outreach workshop for an orphanage? Volunteer.
Though these moments might seem a bit easy or ordinary, they’re actually sound building blocks of confidence and eloquence.
Don’t wait for an interview presentation before you improve your verbal communication skill. Be proactive; work on it as early as you can.
It’s Best To Focus On The Present
Before an interview presentation, you may suddenly find yourself plagued with last-minute, disturbing thoughts. What if your preparation wasn’t really enough? What if you forget what you’ve practiced? What if your style bores the interviewer? What if you can’t answer the follow-up questions? These and many more nagging doubts can suddenly pop up, despite your best preparation efforts.
If you find yourself caught up in such a situation, remind yourself to relax. There’s no need to fight or try to suppress your thoughts, but it is important to control them. The best way to do this is to pay attention to the moment. The present moment – what is actually happening, right at that moment, right where you are. Do this, then give your presentation your best shot and enjoy the experience; the future will take care of the rest.
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