What is a Presentation Exercise?

The presentation exercise is a great opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. Giving a presentation offers you a much better platform than is normally available when simply answering an interviewer's questions. You also have far more control in this exercise than in any of the others. Firstly, you don’t need to consider other participants, as you would in a group discussion or role-play exercise. Secondly, you do have control over how you present your given topic or theme.

So if you are asked to give a presentation, be prepared to make the most of this opportunity to show what you can do and have to offer.

Assement Center Exercise

The most obvious competency that you are being asked to demonstrate is ‘interpersonal communication’, especially your ability to communicate a message in a clear and persuasive way. This covers three separate areas:

1. How you organise the material.
2. How you actually present it.
3. How you handle and answer questions.

However, there are two other areas that are often tested implicitly during the presentation exercise. These are:

1 - Enthusiasm for the Role

Do you sound as though you really want to be there delivering the message?
This aspect of job selection is often overlooked by candidates but most employers want someone who has a genuine enthusiasm for what they do. You need to deliver your presentation with a certain amount of passion – don’t go over the top but you must engage the audience of assessors. They may be listening to a whole series of presentations on the same or similar topics so don’t underestimate how much energy you need to put in if you are going to capture and hold their attention.

2 - Organisational/Strategic Interpretation
Try to demonstrate that you can add value beyond that which the employer expects from the role.
This is easier in some presentations than others, it depends on the topic you’re given, but it is often this ‘added value’ that marks out the successful candidates.

The presentation exercise can take several formats:

1. You are given a topic in advance of the assessment centre and told how long a presentation you need to prepare. You will also be told what visual aids you can use and whether you can use PowerPoint.

If your assessment centre spans two days, then the preparation can sometimes be set as an exercise at the end of the first day. The idea being that you work on it in the evening and give the presentation the following day. These presentations are usually scheduled to last at least 30 minutes.

2. You are given a topic on the day along with some relevant data and a set time, typically 30 minutes to prepare. The duration of this type of presentation is usually 10-20 minutes.

3. The presentation can be linked to other exercises, usually the group discussion. In this instance each candidate is expected to make a presentation detailing the group’s findings or conclusions. The duration of this type of presentation is usually 10-20 minutes.

The Six Point Plan
Whichever format a presentation is going to take you can give yourself a huge advantage by knowing how to prepare properly. It does not matter whether the preparation time is several weeks or half an hour, if you have a system that you have practiced using you will have far more chance of success than a candidate who just improvises and hopes for the best.

This also demonstrates another competency to the assessor how well you plan and organise your presentation. For example, depending on the nature and topic of your presentation you need to show how your role contributes to the overall objective i.e. implementation of a new system or procedure into your department. You will also need to illustrate how you plan to communicate and monitor progress to all involved parties in your presentation. IN some instances you may have to also demonstrate another competency - how you will manage resources.

The six-point plan below is both logical and flexible. It is designed to make sure that you don’t waste time thinking about what to do, and that you spend whatever preparation time you have as efficiently as possible. There are some qualities that a coherent presentation simply must have and by following this plan you can be confident that your presentation will have these qualities.

This plan will work just as well whether you have three weeks or thirty minutes to prepare. Obviously, with only half an hour to prepare you really can’t afford to waste any time and using the six-point plan below will ensure that you make the best use of every minute that you have. The six stages are:

1. Identifying the Aim
2. Identifying the Key Points
3. Planning the Structure
4. Planning the Content
5. Preparing Visual Aids
6. Preparing for Questions

Each of these stages is described in detail in the 'Assessment Centre' eBook .

You may also be interested in:

What is an Assessment Centre?
Who uses the Assessment Centre?
What are the Different Types of Assessment Centre?
What Format Does an Assessment Centre Take?
Who are the Assessors?
What are Assessment Centre Exercises?
What is an In-Tray Exercise?
What is a Presentation Exercise?
What are Group Exercises?
What are Role Play Exercises?

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