Presenting Yourself and Your Venture

2 04 2009

With the New Venture Championship fast approaching, many teams will be fine tuning their presentations. An effective and well-structured presentation can help a business venture appeal to judges, sponsors, and fellow participants.

Below are a few ideas and tips to keep in mind when fine-tuning your own presentation:

Tape Yourself
Taping a practice presentation of your team in action is a very simple way to note flaws. This can be done either with a video camera or an audio recorder. Be aware to watch for sections of your presentation that seem not to run smoothly. Sometimes asking others to watch is also helpful, as you know what you want to say and a fresh mind can notice different flaws.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Business competitions will often let participants examine the room that they will be pitching in prior to the presentation. Be sure to know the size of the room, where you will be standing, and how this will affect your presentation. This prevents you from being surprised, as you will be comfortable with your surroundings.

Don’t Memorize Your Speech
If you’re a part of a team accepted into a business plan competition, you’re expected to have your pitch down pat.

But don’t fall into the trap of memorizing it. Know your facts, know your story, know the logical flow of information, know the words you want to use but don’t memorize it. Give yourself some room for stage fright, unpredictable events, changing on the fly. The worst 10 seconds in any presentation is silence as someone struggles to find the next word in the memory link. Instead, knowing the ideas that you want to get across and letting the words flow is much more natural. Presenting your plan is crucial for the success of your presentation – act like its core to all you know. Last tip, write down the questions you think you will hear – but also write down the answers. Also write down the question you pray you will never be asked, you’re almost guaranteed it will be asked first. Make sure to have a great answer for that most difficult question.

Last, but not least, make sure to relax! Have fun! You have been working on this venture for months. Now, it is time to shine. Make sure to smile, make direct eye contact, and impress the judges! An effective speech is necessary as judges, and potential investors, will only be able to see you for a short amount of time.

Keep in mind these tips to improve your pitch before the judges even give their suggestions!


Trying to get a J-O-B?

18 02 2009

In this economy, everyone must use every advantage possible to land a job. Arguably the most crucial step in the hiring process is the interview. Below are five tips you can use to help interview more professionally and get hired.

1. Know all about the company you are interviewing for
You must do your homework. Learn about the company and the position you are interviewing for. You will separate yourself from other interviewees if you are able to incorporate specific details about the position and company in your interview.

2. Make sure to be very clear about your strengths
Allow an employer to completely understand your qualifications. For example, if you have extensive experience in customer service, make it clear to the interviewer. Allow him or her to know, at times in detail, activities that you have partaken in that make your experiences relevant to the company that you are applying for.

3. Expose your weaknesses as strengths
When asked about your weaknesses, never say, “I do not have any.” Instead, think of weaknesses that you previously have had and explain that they have become strengths. For example, if you were once unorganized, explain how it negatively affected you in other education or employment ventures.

4. Engage the interviewer
Being an interviewee, you must earn the respect of an interviewer. To do this, you must do something to earn his or her respect. To do this, engage personally with the employer and have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview to truly show you are interested in the position.

5. Follow up on your interview
After you interview, do not forget to write either a handwritten note or email to the interviewer, thanking them for their time. Also, if you do not receive notice whether you have obtained the position, do not hesitate to contact the interviewer or company, whichever is appropriate, within a week.

Good luck with your interviews!