Promotion interviews – Don’t let nerves get the better of you!

Promotion interviews – Don’t let nerves get the better of you!

When you’re after promotion, how you present your business case in the boardroom isn’t something you should treat lightly. Let’s face it, interviewing for a new position can be unsettling and unless you’re a naturally gifted speaker (which is extremely rare), nerves and pressure on the day can impact on your ability to present and articulate your case in a relaxed, authentic and confident manner.

To help you overcome this, we’ve compiled 6 top tips that will help you communicate your business case more effectively, eliminating unwanted ‘ums…’,  ‘ahs…’ and ‘wells…’ from your presentation, helping you  gain greater influence over your audience and improving your ability to do yourself justice

1. Develop and prepare your business case until you are comfortable with the content
Before you start thinking about your presentation style, make sure you’re comfortable with your content. Ask yourself: “If I were on the selection committee, what key qualities/ abilities/character traits would convince me of this person’s suitability for promotion now?” Construct your presentation, focusing on your key strengths and drawing from each of the areas where you have strong tangible evidence to offer, for example your technical, leadership and business development skills.

2. Don’t learn your script off by heart
Rehearse until you are comfortable with your presentation, but do not learn it by heart.  It must be delivered in a spontaneous manner on the day. Unless you’re a practiced script writer, what goes down on paper will not be how you speak naturally. If you find yourself struggling to recall forgotten parts of your presentation, you may lose vital engagement with your audience.

3. It’s acceptable to use notes in a client meeting, so why not here!
Notes allow you to express your points and ideas naturally, allowing you to concentrate on building report with your audience.  Using notes as a trigger will help you avoid too many ums and ers, which in any case, are just fillers.  It’s much better from your and the panel’s point of view if you just pause instead.  After all, the pause is one of the key indicators of confidence.

4. Simply forget about your body language
Your body language should be the language of your body.  It should be natural and coherent. Thinking consciously about your body language will slow you down, causing your hand gestures, facial expressions and movement to appear fake or insincere to your audience.  The only thing you should try and do is relax.

5. Be ready for tough questions
Prepare answers in advance for likely questions, highlighting them with relevant examples of your work, even if the interviewer already knows what you’re capable of.  Listen to what the interviewer is asking you, not what you think they need to know!  If you don’t understand the question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it; don’t try to blag your way through.  If you really do not know the answer, tell them, looking them in the eye and saying ‘I don’t know!’  Honesty is always the strongest card to play and remember – the less sure you are of an answer, the less you should say.  Finally, take the opportunity to ask one or two intelligent questions yourself – it shows you are interested.

6. Be flexible during your interview
Even with all of the preparation in the world, you can never 100% predict exactly how the interview will go. There is always a chance that the interviewer will blind-side you with a question from left field, which you never anticipated. The only way to prepare for an eventuality like this is to accept it as a possibility. Acknowledge this can happen and have the confidence in your thorough preparation and abilities to be able to handle the situation should it occur during the interview.