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Tips for giving a presentation in an executive interview

Does your presentation have impact?

Often one of the last steps of the executive interview process is to do a presentation. Sometimes it can be to the board, or to the executive leadership team.


You may be asked to include a 30, 60 or 90-day plan of what you’ll do if you are appointed to the role. Other times, you may be given a case study to present about or be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be given confidential documents about the strategy of the company and its performance.


For many people, giving a presentation during an interview can be daunting, and it’s normal to be nervous. However, with the right preparation, you can feel confident going into the lion’s den knowing you are well-prepared and ready to roll.


Here are some tips for nailing the presentation component of the executive interview process.


Don’t be too wordy


“A lot of people make the mistake of death by PowerPoint,” says Executive Interview Coaching founder Richard Elstone. “By that, I mean putting too many words on the slide and not letting the images do the talking.”


Richard says don’t include all your notes in the presentation. The people you are presenting to will end up reading them word for word, rather than listening to what you’re saying. Instead, keep the text on the slides to a minimum and have your notes on hand.


Do include striking imagery


A picture tells a thousand words, so communicate the message you’re trying to convey with captivating images. 


Say you’ve travelled to Indonesia to meet with your company’s suppliers and that has revived your working relationship. Instead of writing that word for word, include photos of you with the suppliers. If you have emotive images, even better.


You might like to include the hiring company’s colours throughout your presentation. Canva is a great tool that allows you to get creative with presentation formats.


Inject personality into it


The executive team and/or board want to know you have the right expertise and skillset for the role, and that you’ll work well in a team. Inject some personality into the presentation and show them what you’re about. 


It might mean including a fun family photo or a shot of your 80-year-old cockatoo, Eddie. Something amusing at the start of the presentation is a great way to break the ice.


“It’s incredibly important that your personality comes through,” says Richard.


Make it interactive and allow for questions


Usually you’ll be given an indication of how long your presentation should be. Don’t forget to include some time at the end for questions. 


“Try to make the presentation as interactive as possible,” says Richard. “If there are no questions, Houston we have a problem.”


Proofread and practice


You want to make a professional, polished impression, so be sure to proofread your presentation carefully and get someone else to do it for you. Triple check the spelling and grammar, graphs and layout to ensure it’s all top-notch and consistent.


It’s important to do several dry runs of the presentation too before the big day. See whether your audience finds the content engaging. If they’re yawning, you know you have to jazz it up.


“People hate doing presentations, but if you do a couple of dry runs, it certainly does help,” says Richard. “Preparing for a presentation is a bit like preparing for an interview – it’s very difficult to do without talking to someone else.”


How we can help


Executive Interview Coaching offers a range of services to help executives prepare for the gruelling executive interview process. We can run through your presentation with you and fine-tune the content, so that you make a lasting impact in the interview room.


To find out more, get in touch today!

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