Presentation Tip: Kicking Off the Interview

Spinning the Shortlist Interview

I like watching classic TV programs like The Ed Sullivan Show. Where else can you see Elvis Presley sing or twin acrobats juggle batons? I especially like those plate spinners who masterfully swirl china to the tune of the “Sabre Dance.” Crazy!

What does plate spinning have to do with presentation training? Lots! We’re having a ball these days helping firms prep for interviews. One thing that teams struggle with is how to start the presentation with the kind of energy that’s infectious — energy that makes the client say, “Wow! I can’t wait to hear from these people.”

It’s up to the team leader to be a plate spinner! You know that guy – he starts spinning one plate on top of a pole, then another, and another, and another. The energy he brings to his act is totally infectious. Set up your presenters with that same energy using what we call, “The Superlative Introduction.”

When you introduce your teammate, say four things, and only these four things, in this order:

1. Their name

2. Their project title

3. An experience qualifier — big number (dollars, sq. feet, years) or single, relevant biggie project

4. Your personal testimony regarding their character or skill — something only YOU can say from your heart!

Your intro should sound something like: “Here’s Joe, and he’ll be your project manager. Other than the fact that he’s specialized in healthcare construction for 20 years, what makes him perfect for this job is that he just thrives under pressure. It’s amazing to watch him beat a tight schedule, and that’s what you’ve got here. You’ll love working with Joe.”

You know what’s just happened? In about 10 seconds, you’ve:

  • Bragged about your teammates in a way that they could never brag about themselves.
  • Emphasized the presenters’ experience, so they never have to re-introduce or re-qualify themselves.
  • Set up your team to immediately delve into the project, which is what the panel wants to hear!

Imagine – it takes just seconds to get your presenters up and spinning!


— Jen

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

And you thought presentation training was just for you!:

I was fortunate enough to participate in a Graceworks workshop that our firm hosted. Personally, it has helped me with presentations and meetings, but an additional benefit is that I was able to pass along some of what I learned to my kids.

A few months ago, my nine-year-old son was to give a presentation in front of his class. After he put his presentation together, he practiced in front of our family. He spoke softly, avoided eye contact, and fidgeted quite a bit, as most children do when speaking in front of an audience.

I sat down with my son and explained what “being Italian” meant and its impact when speaking in front of people. I also explained what “masks” were and how people, sometimes unknowingly, hide behind them. He understood everything, and after a few more practice runs, he was very comfortable. I was impressed with how quickly he understood and implemented these techniques.

The next day, my wife called me at work. The teacher had come looking for her to let her know what an amazing job our son had done. His teacher used words like “natural” and “like a pro.” He earned an A+ on his presentation and has actually done more presentations since.

So, not only did Graceworks help me become a better presenter, they indirectly helped my son as well.

Gilbert Baez, Associate
HMC Architects
Irvine, CA

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