Opinion

7 successful steps to an Oscar-winning presentation

The Oscar’s are happening this Sunday, splashing red carpet glamour and designer dresses across our newspapers! It’s the moment when the cream of the movie world reap their rewards for first-class performances.

And this week we’re taking tips from Hollywood to help you deliver a successful job interview presentation. We can help you plan and deliver your own Oscar-worthy performance!

If you’re going for a marketing or PR job in the East of England a presentation is likely to be part of your interview. But if you really want a new job you need to get your strategy right. Let’s get started with a bit of thespian-inspired advice…

1. Analyse the task
Let’s say you’ve been given a fictitious customer pitch to present at an interview. Like a good actor scrutinising their lines, you should read the instructions carefully. Then read them again. And again. Make sure you understand what the interviewers want you to do. Do you feel you know the product or service you’re ‘selling’? Do you have a clear idea of the audience you’re presenting to? This level of thought will form the basis of a good quality presentation.

2. Your audience comes first
Think about your audience (the interviewers): What do they want to hear and see? What skills do they want to see you use? Read the job description again, and make sure that when planning the presentation you give yourself opportunities to demonstrate these key skills.

3. A personal touch
Actors bring their own ‘je ne sais quoi’ to each role. So just like the movie icons, inject some of your personality into the presentation. Are you able to charm your audience easily? Does your passion come through in your presentations? Are you a natural story teller? A quick note: Keep it professional and be cautious with humour – it can be inappropriate for some interviews, and easily misunderstood.

4. Learn your lines
You wouldn’t see a star of the silver screen reading their notes on camera, so aim to learn your script before your performance too. Write down what you want to say, learn it, then condense it into note-form on a few flashcards. When you run through the presentation to get your timings right, have the cards handy in case you need a prompt. By the time you get to the big day, you should know it by all heart.

5. Creating the content
Actors know how to catch an audience’s attention. If you’re using PowerPoint, you can create some great content your interviewers will love. Avoid using lots of lists – think of other ways to present information. Use images, bold text and graphics, but if you must use a list, make it short and punchy. You can flesh out each point with your script. Whatever you do, don’t risk losing your audience’s attention. Try it out on an honest friend – they’ll tell you whether or not it works!

6. Fake it till you make it
Not many of us have the charisma of Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie. But you can get your own ‘X’ factor from being self-assured, stylish and by using positive body language. If interview nerves are getting to you a little, you should fake it till you make it! Play the role of a confident presenter and your performance could clinch you that job.

7. Accept the critique
No matter how accomplished they are, many actors dread reviews of their performances. But they accept good reviews graciously and take bad ones on the chin. The same applies to other professions. Hopefully, you’ll get sparkling feedback and you’ll get the job. But should the feedback be mixed, simply accept it and use it to improve your performance next time. Thank the employer, and you never know – the job might still be yours but with areas for improvement.

Next time you find yourself planning a presentation for a job interview, you’ll know what to do to deliver one of award-winning calibre -we’ll even roll out the red carpet for you. Good luck!