‘I can’t tell from the slides who the audience is,’ I said. ‘This presentation could be for any number of employers.’
‘Is that a problem?’
Unsurprisingly it turns out that the presentation is a lightly retouched version of one that has been designed for a different occasion.
‘Why don’t you,’ I suggest, ‘start the presentation by talking not about yourself or your topic, but about the employer?’
I suggest openers along the lines of ‘Whilst preparing this presentation, I have been researching your organisation using various sources. I thought it would be helpful first to outline the messages that has given me about your key interests and requirements so I can then dovetail the points I wish to discuss…’
On the day, after a minute or so, one of the interviewers interrupts: ‘Wait: are you telling us you designed this presentation especially for this occasion?’
It turns out that the interviewers like this. A lot,
With good reason. This approach sends so many positive messages simultaneously. For example:
- you care enough about the opportunity enough to have done some real work for it
- you’re being courteous: you’re tailoring the information to help them see its relevance to their own context
- you’ve done some proper homework on the employer
- if they employ and you have to do a presentation on behalf of the comp[any, you’re likely to make a good impression.
The candidate duly received a job offer, no doubt for several reasons — but there is no doubt that the tailored presentation helped.