Applications / Assessment centres

How to deliver an effective presentation at an an assessment centre

Presentations are very common at assessment centers. They give candidates a chance to show their presentation skills which will be important in the workplace. The assessors want to see if you are able to deliver a well-structured, clear, confident presentation. Presentations can be the most terrifying part of an assessment centre. Many people are nervous about speaking in public, but with plenty of preparation, candidates do really well. In this blog, we will help you to feel more confident about presentations and talk you through how to prepare and present effectively.

Understanding presentation exercises

Presentations are often used in the professional sector. For example, this may be utilized for presenting sales reports, proposing a project, analysing information, or pitching to a prospective client. As a candidate, you may be given a topic beforehand and be asked to come prepared to give a presentation, or they may be provided with an existing presentation at the interview and asked to present it. You may also be given a topic on the spot to make a presentation in an allotted time. Multiple tools may be employed for these presentations, including digital tools like PowerPoint and physical tools, like flip charts. The common job positions where presentation skills are usually required include

  • sales
  • marketing
  • consulting
  • and many more…

There is a high probability in these jobs to involve interactions with potential customers and target audiences.

How to prepare a good presentation

Here are the steps you have to take to ensure you are preparing effectively for your presentation:

Do your research

Gather useful information, facts, statistics and read around the subject. You will only have a short time to present so ensure you prioritize vital information. Most people only include a fraction of their research into a presentation.

Find out about available resources

Clarify with the assessment centre organisers beforehand what equipment will be available. Will you be allowed to use a projector, or will it be presenting off a computer? Will PowerPoint be available?

Make sure you know the timings

Make sure you know how long the presentation will be and what they will be expecting from it. You can usually get an indication from the topic; for example, if they ask you to tell you why you would be good for the role, you will have to show your skills and assess the company’s needs and how you would fulfill them.

Practice

Once you’ve decided on the content and structure of your presentation, make sure you practice it. Start by practicing in front of a mirror or family and friends. Make sure they give you honest feedback. It is also a good idea to time yourself when doing the presentation to see if you’ve given yourself the right amount of time for each section. You can start to hone your Presentation skills for your upcoming assessment centre by registering with your University of Warwick email on the GF platform.

How to present a presentation effectively

As well as wondering about how to prepare for a presentation, you may be wanting to know some tips on how to present effectively. This is usually the hardest part, but with some helpful tips you may feel more confident.

Effective communication

When presenting your voice should be audible, and your language should be formal. Try and keep the full attention of the audience by interacting with the assessors, they may take this as thinking you have a good initiative and are a good leader.

Maintain Composure

The main purpose of a presentation exercise is to test the candidate’s ability to cope with stress, repeated questioning, communication, and time management. Focus on the task at hand and go through all your prepared notes to help you feel calm and composed.

Body Language

Body language is a key part of the presentation. Ensure you are making eye contact with the assessors in the room. Using hand gestures can also be effective in grabbing the attention of the audience.

Look at the audience

Ensure you look at the audience and not the slides. It looks more professional to have your attention on the audience and take your cue from your note cards rather than looking at the slides.

Questioning round

Often, there is a questioning round at the end of the presentation. Welcome any queries from the audience/assessors, showing confidence that you are able to answer them effectively. Ensure you don’t talk over the questioner and be sure to answer clearly.

Practise Presentation Exercises and over 100 job assessments on GF. Register with your University of Warwick email address via the Warwick Welcome page

Written by Fern McCann LLB and Peter Thornton BA MA, Consultants at Graduates First in collaboration with the University of Warwick Careers team.

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