The Structure

In general, restrict your presentation to three main sections. This helps to keep a strong focus to your speech. Three tends to be the magic number that people remember things in and it is easier to follow and make the audience remember the message and you as a speaker. Your presentation should follow the following structure:

1. Beginning

The Aim - What is the message that you want to convey?
What the Presentation contains - Tell them what you're going to say

2. Middle

Deliver - Tell them

3. End

Recap and summarise - Tell them what you've told them

Your presentation must convey one key message and this message will act like a backbone for the presentation and should hold everything else together. It is important that you make a strong opening at the start of the presentation. This is the time when you want to grab the interviewer's attention. There are few ways of doing this, for instance you might start with a question, or a quote, or an important fact to arouse interest. A good start will set the tone for the rest of your presentation.

Practice your presentation in the mirror, many times, so that it really becomes part of you. This will give you an all important confidence when you begin your presentation.

Quite often, you will need to use a visual aid. This most commonly will be PowerPoint. Depending on the duration, you can adopt the 10, 20, 30 rule ad explained by Guy Kawasaki. Then, be sure to make your slides simple, compelling and captivating. Also remember the KISS rule - Keep It Short and Simple. Your slides should include the key points only, with one idea per slide. Summarize this key message in one powerful sentence and keep it foremost in your mind throughout the presentation. See these don'ts:

  1. Do not create a large number of slides. Limit the number of slides to a maximum of 10 and provide clear and crisp information.
  2. Do not dump loads of text into a slide.
  3. Keep a consistent slide look and feel throughout your presentation. Use the same font, size, color, and capitalization format.
  4. Use simple graphs to communicate findings. If too much information is presented, very little will be remembered.
  5. Use few colours and ensure that they fuse well
  6. Unless you are good at utilizing animation on your slides, don't have everything singing and dancing
  7. Avoid using complete sentences. Instead, use short phrases that capture the important points. The only exception is the use of quotations, which can be cited in their entirety.
  8. Always use a font large enough to be seen by all panel members. Use 34 - 36 point for titles and no smaller than 28-30 point for the text or bulleted items.
  9. Avoid border areas; maintain enough white space on your slides to ensure that the graphics or text are easy to read.
  10. Create bullets for better appearance; provide ample spacing with readable font and size.
  11. Use pertinent visuals - a visual presentation would increase the reach-ability of the information.
  12. Do not add large tables that fill the entire slide.
  13. Do not read the visual presentation to the panel, they can read. They need you to present.

Complete the presentation a few days before the interview. Proofread the contents for grammatical and logical mistakes. Rehearse at least four times so that you can have an error-free presentation and communication.

(SOURCE : Catherine's career corner)


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