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I have been told to prepare a presentation on any topic of my choice for a job interview. What kind of topic should I choose?

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At the risk of suggesting something that you may have already thought of or someone else has suggested, I would go with a topic that you already know something about and that you are passionate about. This takes a lot of pressure off of you with having to come up with a new topic and becoming a quick expert on it.

You say that you know that the interview is to test your presentation skills. ‘Test’ is kind of a vague term. Test, to me, would seem to indicate that the interviewers have a predetermined set of criteria to test you against. That leads to a pass fail result. Perhaps thinking in terms of assessing you, may be helpful.

There is a difference. If you are being assessed by a panel of interviewers, there is the possibility that not all of the interviewers are good at presenting themselves. They are relying on the opinions of those that are skilled. The interviewers are tasked with choosing the right candidate for the job. This presentation is only one part of the interview process. It might be helpful to consider the entire interview process as one big presentation.

The challenge with these presentations is that your audience i.e. your interviewers, are not likely overly interested in your subject. This is a role-playing session, where you act out your part as the presenter but your interviewers don’t do so well as audience participants.

I find my best presentations are ones that are interactive with my audience. If you go with a subject that your interviewers can play an active role in, without any advanced preparation or knowledge of the subject, you will be better off.

Odds are they will be assessing you in the following areas: Content knowledge; preparation; delivery skills; stage management; self-confidence; grace under fire i.e. if something goes wrong during your presentation; the ability to encourage audience participation; being able to answer questions confidently, etc. I would suggest that you prepare for a question and answer session, thinking about some possible questions that your interviewers may ask. Don’t be surprised if one of them comes up with a bizarre question with the intention to stump you.

I would suggest doing a few practice runs before the actual interview, with a few people in your audience as test subjects. If you have access to a video camera, record your presentation so that you can assess yourself where you might make some improvements.

You say that you don’t believe that you will be tested on your technical skills. I’m not so sure about that. If you plan on using a laptop with a data projector, you should be confident with using them as well as solving problems as they arise. If you are using PowerPoint you should be comfortable using it.

I would expect that your interviewers would have a list of areas that they would want to assess you in. Quite often job interviewers will decide on the final candidate by using their gut feelings. You want to make sure you give them a good impression.

Good luck with your interview and presentation!

As originally answered on Quora.com

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

 

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