Focus on Assessment — Oral Presentation

It is no secret that oral presentation is not everyone’s strong suit, even though it is a crucial competency in the professional world. Oral presentation, for our purposes, can be defined as presenting ideas effectively to individuals or groups when given time for preparation (including nonverbal communication and use of visual aids); or targeting presentations to the characteristics and needs of the audience.

Oral presentation is a competency needed to illustrate important ideas internally to higher-ups or externally to current or potential clients, for example. These types of presentations require similar skills on the part of the speaker and are of the utmost importance regarding both internal and external ventures.

When interviewing someone for a job that requires superior oral presentation skills, make sure that they can:

1. Present to superiors and peers with equal effectiveness: Someone should be able to speak just as well to superiors as they can to their peers. Their skills should remain consistent no matter what the occasion of the presentation or who is present.

2. Use multiple approaches to communicate: This person does not rely on the same, overused technique each time they are required to present information. They are able to utilize various forms of communication to present in the best way possible for that particular situation.

3. Handle demanding presentations: Performing under stress and on short notice is a reality of any business. A skilled speaker can handle a lot in a short amount of time, and do it successfully.

4. Keeps attention of large groups: We can all relate to sitting through a boring presentation. So much can be lost on a group if the speaker does not keep its audience engaged.

Of course, these are just a handful of important assets to someone with high oral presentation skills. Oral presentation is a hard competency to test for unless that person is put into a real situation. Ask the interviewee to give thorough examples and to play out the experience as best they can.

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