A great question hit my inbox this week and I’m sharing because you might feel all comfy, settled and secure that everything is status quo at the company you work for, but mergers and acquisitions aren’t uncommon these days and you never know – this could be you.
The company I’ve been working for for the past several years has recently been purchased by a larger corporation and the department structure of the organization is completely different than what it was before the acquisition. I have to fly to the new corporate office and “interview” to maintain any job within the company. Either going to do well & be offered a position (which may turn out to be in another state) or I won’t, in which case I’ll be looking for a new job, or take a demotion to another role (<- I won’t do that). I have to give a 10 min presentation during the interview about my accomplishments and what it means to be a business partner. Here’s where I could use some help. Do you think I should just play it safe & do the standard PowerPoint presentation? I have one all prepared but I just feel like its so boring and overused. But I also don’t want to use this venue for my first attempt ever to branch out into new forms of presentation. What do you think? Between flying/traveling, speaking in front of a group & having to make an impression, I’m pretty much a nervous wreck.
What a great opportunity to show your stuff! You have been in your position for several years and no one knows it better than you. You have received honorable performance appraisals and maintained good working relationships with other business partners, and you are a bonafide subject matter expert on your position in the company and the solutions you provide to it.
It sounds like the new leaders in the organization want to learn from the ground up how the company is managed by meeting in person with department leaders through a formalized and actionable process. Look at it as a presentation not an interview. Make a date with your professional confidence and show the new kids on the block what a great decision they made when they invested in you through the venture.
The format you use can be perceived as a crutch or a breath of fresh air. If you want to be viewed as a subject matter expert in your position get out from behind a slide presentation (unless of course your job is to create slide presentations for the company, then by all means jazz it up). Having to fiddle with the flash drive, software version compatibility, dimming lights, keyboard, mouse or remote to change slides, all that ‘stuff’ will simply detract from your knowledge and 10 minutes that ticking away. You want them to be enamored with you, have all eyes on you, and remember you not a slide show, right?
By all means, if you do decide to do a slide presentation, do not fill every nook and cranny of slides with text and cheap looking clip art and then read the slides…. That will never make you look intelligent – ever. Never, ever. People can read for themselves. It will be awkward, they will zone out and wish they were not there. They won’t be able to wait to end this… this thing.
If you feel they need to have other visual data, do a printed presentation and hand each interviewer a copy at the end or send it to them in your thank you email afterward. I guarantee, most of the other internal interviewees won’t think to send follow up thank yous.
If you just can’t fathom getting through the interview without a slide presentation, be sure to use the KISS method and go for a clean look with key words to keep your presentation on target – maybe a photo here or there of an event, throw an important number on a slide in large font – just the number you are talking about, for some impact. Take it on a flash drive, upload it to a cloud, email it to yourself, put it on the company intranet… just make sure you have it available in a variety of ways – in case you lose the flash drive, step on it, or whatever.
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In the end, remember that you’re the one with the vantage point – not the disadvantage. Follow these tips and you’ll do brilliantly.