Second interview presentation butterflies
February 8, 2015 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I have a big interview late this week and I have to do a presentation and facilitate a discussion. Best tips and tricks? This is an educational nonprofit.

I have a second round interview late this week with an educational nonprofit--the position would be coordinating logistics for their summer enrichment program, managing a team of site coordinators and analyzing data/doing quality control. It would be a big step up for me in a lot of ways, I'm pretty nervous!

For the interview, they forwarded me a copy of the report from last year's summer program. I need to present the report to ten people and then facilitate a discussion on improvements on training/professional development for summer staff. 20 minutes total. Then there will be a standard interview with the people I met last time and some other staff.

Maybe I'm over thinking it, but beyond just presenting the basics of the report, how can I make sure I knock their socks off in terms of my presentation? Also, is it assumed that a presentation will be done on powerpoint? I don't actually own a laptop, only a windows tablet which does run powerpoint but probably won't connect to a projector because it doesn't have anything beyond a usb port. Do I need to beg or borrow another laptop? Will hard copy visuals seem unprofessional?

Also--facilitating a discussion-- how can I do this in an intentional way? I feel like most meetings I've been in facilitators have just opened up the floor for discussion and it's been pretty free range. I'd love any tips or resources on this.

Any other tips are also very appreciated, especially specific to second interviews/this interview format. Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is a great opportunity to show this nonprofit that you know how to ask for help and extra information when you need it. Call them up, write your contact, do whatever you have to do, but ask them for the following info:

1. What presentation resources will be available to me, if any?
2. What should I bring tech-wise to this segment of the interview?
3. Is there anyone attending who would appreciate hard copy visuals? I will bring 10 copies just in case.

Other presentation tips you may know already:

• Make sure your text is minimal on each of your slides no matter how tempting it may be to just copy and paste stuff directly from the report.
• To that end, DO NOT read from your slides. At all. Your audience can read what's there. Instead, have talking points prepared that will allow you to provide more information and/or clarification for what's up on the screen.

For the discussion, I recommend doing some analysis of the report in advance so that you have a couple of core questions you can pose to the group rather than just saying, "Aaaaand...... GO!" when it comes time to discuss stuff. What are the weak points of the staff as outlined by the report? What are the strengths? What do you think the non-profit should start doing, stop doing, and keep doing for summer staff training? Have some answers in mind, then ask those same questions to the group.

Good luck! You're gonna do great.
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:51 PM on February 8, 2015

I can't help on the powerpoint/projection aspect of the question, other than to suggest you ask your contact if they expect a slide show type presentation. If they do, you can create it on your tablet and upload it to the cloud on Slideshare or another service and use their equipment--laptop and projector--to show it. Ask if they a laptop/projector available. (Write down your username & password & take it with you if you go this route. It is easy to forget those under stress!) Remember, slides should be used more as note cards to remind you of what you want to say, not list everything you plan to say. You will either have internalized the content or have more details on notecards for your reference.

Slide show or talk--keep it short. They have all read the report, so highlights/recommendations should be enough. I have had to sit through presentations like this and the memorable ones don't repeat what I know (they should know I know), show some humor, & demonstrate the person's understanding of the topic & purpose of the presentation. Unless they told you to act as if this was all new to the audience, you can acknowledge that in your intro, "I know we are all familiar with this report, so I will focus on what I see to be the key points." Or something similar. Do you have a sense of which is more important to them--the presentation or the facilitation? If you do, divide your 20 minutes to reflect that.

True facilitation is an art and involves a lot of prep. With such a short amount of time for both presentation & discussion, I would be prepared with a strong opening question to get the discussion started. You won't have time for free range discussion of a full report, so take charge of the discussion with your opening statement and question. Consider sticking to one question--"Given the time constraints, we are going to focus on the [key result/question] from the report." Then ask a question that sparks discussion--not a yes or no question or one that has an obvious answer. My guess is they want to know that you can conduct a meeting with the site coordinators and others and get results by maintaining an on-topic discussion while getting input from the group.

Facilitators are there to get the discussion started, keep it on track and on topic, ask questions if the group is stuck, not to show how much they know the topic. Successful facilitators make sure that one person does not dominate the conversation, that all ideas are welcome and recorded, and that everyone has a chance to contribute. Don't be afraid to say, "That is an [interesting/important/useful] point, but we are discussing [this]. Let's save that for our next discussion." or "Let's finish this question before we move on."

Time management is always important in facilitated discussions in order to accomplish the purpose, so keep an eye on the clock, which you will be doing anyway in this situation.

They invited you back--yay! That means they think you can do this job. They know this is a big step for you; they don't expect perfection. You want to show that you have done your homework because you want this job. This will be a demonstration of your confidence in yourself and your ability to present and to lead a meeting. Do your best, try not to let it fluster you if you do somehow 'goof,' (humor can help here), and you will do great.

Good luck!
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 9:55 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

First, forward a copy of your presentation to one of your contacts and let them know that you'll need them to project it as you don't have a laptop.

Secondly, print out copies of your presentation, in color. This is in case the electronics fail, also it's good to have a leave behind.

I'm not going to tell you how to do this because you already know. Just relax into it and enjoy the process. My philosophy on these things is: I have the skills, experience, talent and desire to be great at this.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:57 AM on February 9, 2015

In addition to Hermione's tips above I've always told people new to presentations
Tell them what you will tell them
tell them
tell them what you told them.

In other words open with a brief summary of the points your presentation will cover. This gives your audience a chance to prepare themselves. Then present the information with no more than 3 or 4 lines of information on each slide. Graphs or charts only if they are 100% legible, and again, do not read your slides. They should contain key information (in high school we used to ask "will this be on the quiz?"). Then finally a slide or two summarizing key points, making conclusions, or even posing questions left unanswered by the data. This is a good way to transition into Q&A.

Tech wise- bring multiple options. Have your Powerpoint save as a stand-alone presentation as well as a standard PPT file, A USB Stick, memory card or hard drive, a drop box URL...paper copies, cover all your bases.
posted by Gungho at 10:36 AM on February 9, 2015

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