A stunning informative speech at your interview can make a lasting impression and help land you that dream job. Your interviewers may provide the title for your speech or give you wider scope to choose your own topic. They expect you to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject and your ability to communicate it successfully under pressure. Time spent on meticulous preparation before the interview boosts your confidence and helps overcome any presentation nerves.
Learn about the company you want to join, to find out how best to approach your speech. Check its website, read its literature, and consider the knowledge and ability needed for the job you seek. Interviewers from a scientific organization may expect detailed technical explanations while those from a company within the creative industries may be more interested in a presentation that showcases your artistic or communication talents.
Research your material thoroughly. Be sure every word you prepare is accurate. Understand any statistics you use. Consider the number of people present for your speech, their position in the organization and their degree of expertise. Your audience may include interviewers and observers from different parts of the company, so check your own understanding of the contents of your speech and be prepared to explain every aspect clearly.
Begin with an opening paragraph that sets the scene, captures the audience’s interest and explains what the speech will contain. Make no more than three or four main points in the body of your speech, ensuring you keep to the topic. Doris Werkman, a speech communication instructor, writing on the Portland Community College website, suggests you use a specific purpose statement as you plan, to help maintain your focus. She points out that the statement, “to inform the audience of three major warning signs of clinical depression” is more precise than “to inform them about depression.” Write a closing paragraph to summarize and conclude your speech.
Refer to experts in your field, making sure you know their credentials and any paper, book or article you cite. Relate short anecdotes from your own experience to liven your speech if possible, but use humor with care, and avoid making unnecessary jokes that could misfire. Include visual aids. Videos, photographs or graphs all help maintain the audience’s interest. Consider the questions your listeners are likely to ask about your speech and prepare some answers.
Rehearse your speech aloud several times. Prepare short notes to aid your memory, but know your text so that you can look at the audience. Keep your sentences short, punchy and non-technical unless the topic demands specialist language. Speak more slowly than usual and pause between phrases, to help your audience follow your reasoning. Check your timing to be sure your speech is not too long. Use a mirror to monitor your stance. Avoid putting your hands in your pockets or jigging from one foot to another. Practice pausing before you begin your speech, to gain the audience’s attention, and look up so you can make eye contact with your listeners. Remember to smile.
The day before you give your speech, check that you have all your materials ready. Be prepared for technical problems with laptops or audio equipment by taking with you your notes and hard copies of any visual aids. Choose appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable wearing, so that you can concentrate on your speech. Arrange to reach your destination early and allow extra time for unexpected transport difficulties, in order to be sure you arrive feeling calm and confident.