Careers advice: How to improve your presentation skills

Written by: Richard Harris
Published on: 2 Mar 2014
Category:

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1) Do your research. Anyone you meet will always be impressed if you have a good up-to-date knowledge of the planning market. Examples of this would be to know a company’s key clients or some of the projects they have recently won. It’s a great way to keep a conversation flowing. Showing your interest in someone else’s success is always flattering and helps to build a great first impression.
 
2) Avoid filler words. Words such as “um”, “like” and “erm” and are normally a sign that you are nervous. A top tip we give out is to talk a little bit more slowly or, if you are unsure of how to answer a question, have a sip of the drink that you accepted when you arrived to buy you a few seconds of precious time to think and calm your nerves. Always try to be concise and to the point. Interviewers are rarely expecting you to be a walking encyclopaedia on town planning regulations, but they will expect you to be up to date with any current trends and back up what you are saying with solid examples.
 
3) Dress to impress. Make sure you are well dressed at all interviews and meetings. This will make everyone realise that you are taking the occasion seriously and have made an effort to make a good first impression. Make sure your clothes are well ironed and your shoes are polished. The property market tends to favour a tasteful but subtle look with white shirts and plain coloured suits. For the men a navy blue or charcoal grey suit paired with a white shirt is normally best, and for the ladies a conservative but professional look in the form of a skirt suit or dress. Save the loud shirts or blouses for another time. 

4) Think about your body language. When you first meet someone, always great them with a warm smile and firm handshake. Make sure you are engaging with anyone you speak to, and don’t shy away from eye contact. If you are in a meeting or interviewing, sit up straight, don’t fidget and don’t let your eyes wander. As a young professional in the property industry, being a good networker is a very useful skills to have, so being approachable and friendly will always go a long way.
 
5) Always ask/be prepared for questions. Before any meeting, have some questions written down to ask, either when you are prompted or to change the subject of a conversation. This is always a great way for you to find out more information and further help develop your knowledge of the sector.