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PRESENTATION SKILLS

Well DressedHave you ever tuned across the radio dial and found a program you really wanted to hear, only to end up disappointed because the signal was too weak? You begin to hear more noise than signal, so you turn the radio off. A poor presentation can be like that. You may be armed with a lot of facts about your would-be employer, and you may have done a thorough self assessment. But couple poor posture with bad eye contact, add in some twitching and scratching, and you've got a poor signal-to-noise ratio. No one will want to listen to your program.

First, pull up a chair and sit in front of a mirror. Do you find your natural posture pleasing, or do you tend to slide down in the chair? Do your shoulders slump? Do you lean to one side? The rule of thumb for good posture: 90 degree angles. Your spine is straight and your feet are flat on the floor.

Next, sit with a friend and carry on a conversation. Be aware of how often you look into the other person's eyes and how often you talk while looking off into the distance, or worse, at the floor. If you have access to a video camera, record mock interviews with a friend posing as the employer. Study how you conduct yourself. Do you pepper your comments with "uh" and "like" (as in, "I'm really, like, a people person.")? Do you pick at your clothes, run your hands through your hair, fuss with your nails or scratch the back of your neck? Those are all examples of noise. In fact, the list of possible "DON'Ts" would go on for pages. But please keep in mind these "DOs":

  1. Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer (but don't try to stare him or her down);
  2. Sit up straight;
  3. Smile; and
  4. Answer questions, or ask them, in complete sentences.

Continue to: DRESSING FOR THE INTERVIEW

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