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Presentations

Presenter talking to their audience

A presentation task is an opportunity to show assessors that you can:

  • distil large quantities of information down to the most salient points.
  • tailor content to suit a specific audience.
  • deliver a coherent message clearly and concisely.
  • manage time pressure and nerves.

It’s possible to prepare, even if the topic won’t be revealed until the day of the assessment centre. Get familiar with the building blocks of a good presentation on this page before heading to the case studies section for specific advice on how to tackle scenario-based presentation tasks. 

Your next steps

Book an appointment with an adviserChoose an application and interview support slot.

Develop your presentation skills

Like most skills, presenting gets easier with practise. Hone your skills in front of a supportive audience, with the:

Public Speaking Society

 

Preparing your presentation

Structure

This simple framework can be applied to almost any presentation brief:

  1. Content - outline the structure of your presentation.
  2. What? - why are you delivering the presentation? Give your audience the context.
  3. So what? Depending on the task, either: give your recommendations, backed-up with evidence OR outline your proposed process, method and timeline.
  4. Now what? Finish with two or three key points or ‘next steps’ that you want your audience to think about and remember. 

Expect to be asked questions about the content of your presentation. Assessors want to hear you justify your logic, but be careful not to appear totally inflexible. If new information comes to light, you should be prepared to alter your position.

Resources

Designing effective visual aids takes time (a scarce resource at assessment centres). If you are using PowerPoint, a flip chart or a whiteboard, here are our top three tips:

  1. Keep text to an absolute minimum or, better still, avoid it altogether.
  2. Limit yourself to one high-impact image per concept or topic.
  3. Don’t read from a script; note-down key points on cue cards instead. 

Watch this video for PowerPoint design inspiration

Delivery

This isn’t about ‘wowing’ with TED-worthy presentation skills; focus on doing the basics well:

  • Be clear on the key points you want to make before starting. If you’re worried about forgetting them, use cue cards.
  • Make roughly even amounts of eye contact with everyone in the room.
  • Inject energy into your voice to emphasise key points and keep your audience engaged.
  • Embrace pauses; people’s brains need time to absorb information.

How to deliver an effective presentation

Luke Lynch, Employability Education Projects Officer, gives his top tips on how to deliver an effective presentation during the recruitment process. 

From an employer's perspective

When our people present technical content to customers, it's important that everyone in the room understands.

One purpose of the presentation task at our assessment centre is therefore to test candidates' ability to make the complex accessible.

The best presentations that we see demonstrate that candidates have actively engaged with the subject matter and thought about how the knowledge and skills that they’ve gained – both on and off their courses – could be applied to real-world scenarios.

 

Nicola Wild, HR Business Partner at Romax Technology

 
 

Careers and Employability Service

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email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk