HOW TO MAKE A PRESENTATION OF YOURSELFStrategies to be successful and effective
How to make a presentation of yourself? How does the presentation change from a written letter to an interview? We live in different social contexts where it is necessary to present oneself or make oneself known, always trying to make a good impression. This can happen both in written and oral form and each channel requires a certain register.
In today’s job market, with so much competition and an ever-increasing level of quality, it is essential to know how to make a good presentation of oneself and invest in personal promotion. For this, I suggest the Personal Branding and Professional Success course by Digital Coach.
How to make a presentation of yourself?
Introducing oneself is the first test to pass when meeting other people or entering a social context. It is no coincidence that, as soon as one enters school, at the age of six, one is asked to make a brief presentation of oneself. This exercise is a practice that accompanies us throughout our lives, from school to join a sports group, from meeting strangers to the work routine.
In the world of work, there are several occasions when one has to present oneself. At the beginning of one’s career, for instance, one sends out one’s first applications and goes through a series of interviews, but this continues even once one is established. Presentations are necessary to show off one’s professional activity, make oneself known on the web, conduct a conference, go on a date, and so on.
Being able to make a good presentation of oneself is not a matter of course. It requires practice, attention, and the consideration of a few general tips. Below I offer you a set of guidelines that apply to every type of presentation.
- It focuses on the intended audience and target group.
- Define your goals: find a job, present yourself online, grab attention at a conference, and so on.
- Decide what you want to say and how to make a time-dependent selection of points.
- Depending on who is listening to or reading your presentation, modulate your tone. For example, in a video on your website you can be catchy and funny, during a job interview it is better to be formal and show confidence.
- Mention your achievements and strengths in line with your target audience. However, remember that displaying perfection by exaggerating every achievement risks being counterproductive and arousing dislike.
- Focused on postgraduate professional stages.
- Do not talk about politics, football, or religious beliefs. These are controversial topics that may negatively influence the first impression or simply not be appropriate for the context.
- Tell about your personal and professional interests to outline your profile more precisely.
- Avoid capturing attention by using inflated adjectives and characteristics, such as “excellent communication skills”, “highly motivated”, “reliable”, and so on.
- Report only relevant information, remembering that the presentation is for others and not for you.
These tips are only a smattering of how to make a presentation of yourself, but you will realize that there are many ways and channels to make yourself known, each with its own strengths, and they require special arrangements. In addition, you may decide to attend a specific course to improve your skills.
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The communication channel influences the content of the presentation
Each context requires a certain presentation style and lays down its own rules, so it is important to know them in order to start by making a good impression. For example, depending on the circumstances, you may be required to present yourself in a certain type of clothing, shoot a short video, write a presentation with a minimum of 150 words, use a formal register, or use a maximum of one and a half minutes.
From these simple examples, a first fundamental distinction between two categories of presentation can be deduced: written and oral. The first is an indirect form of presentation and can take various structures: the most important are the motivational letter, the cover letter, and the CV. The second, on the other hand, is predominantly direct and implies the presence of an “audience”: this is the case at an interview, conference, or meeting. However, the indirect, albeit oral, mode of video presentation is also common in recent times.
Whatever type of channel you use, however, the main objective will be to capture the attention of the reader or listener and make your message interesting. When you start talking about yourself, for example, it is essential to make the most of the first few minutes: the initial impact has an incredible influence on the judgment and attention of the listener. “There is never a second chance to make a good first impression”, as Oscar Wilde used to say.
The written form, on the other hand, requires conciseness, and an engaging but not redundant style. In a nutshell, each channel implies precise characteristics on how to make a presentation of oneself and each field requires the most suitable one: insurance companies, for example, will prefer oral interviews to recruit new agents, while digital marketing agencies will require online presentation pages or video messages from candidates.
Making a presentation in written form
Writing a presentation of yourself is complex because you have to be able to explain in a few simple words who you are, what you consider important, and what your distinguishing features are. This is done differently in a CV, in which you are asked to list your work and educational experiences, in a motivational letter, in which you have to specify your interests and why you want to present yourself, or in a personal presentation, in which you tell your story.
Personal marketing means exhibiting one’s strengths, communicating and narrating one’s path, growth, interests, ambitions, and, finally, how one describes oneself in relation to the world around one. Let us see the differences in how to make a written self-presentation in more detail.
Usually, the motivational letter is requested as an attachment to a job application or participation in a call for applications or competition, as a preliminary form of presentation. Here you have the opportunity to talk about your skills, passions, and motivation in undertaking the path you are applying for.
There are no predefined models to refer to, every presentation for finding a job is effective if it is built on yourself: the important thing is to be transparent, honest, consistent with your profile, and simple, avoiding redundancy and repetition. The main objective is to try to convey your essence, trying to pique the recruiter’s interest, and use the letter to say something more about yourself and your aspirations.
An added value is personalization. Sending each recipient the same pre-packaged letter denotes a lack of seriousness or interest, whereas it is important to emphasize why that particular company or competition seems to be for you.
An effective cover letter succeeds in winning the interest and trust of the reader. These feelings arise from the empathy that comes into play when one tells about oneself, about one’s person, and not so much about what one does or knows how to do. One of the best situations to enclose one’s cover letter is when searching for a job or sending spontaneous applications.
So, how do you make a presentation of yourself that makes a difference? You need to find the right balance between personal and professional storytelling, remaining authentic, and sincere, and favoring a light and fluid style, without the search for pompous catchphrases. In addition, as with any written work, syntax and grammar are crucial, and, from a technical point of view, it is best to send a PDF file to avoid any problems with reading or opening.
The CV is the most popular and well-known form of presenting oneself for work. Without mincing words, I offer below a list of tips on how best to compose your CV.
- First of all, it is better not to use the European format, as it is considered obsolete and prevents any kind of personalization that would allow you to stand out or shape your personality. However, these are important factors if we consider that more and more recruiters are looking for people on Instagram or LinkedIn (more on this later).
- It is important to use the right keywords, technical skills, computer skills, and qualifications for the position you are applying for, as recruiters use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is a program that reads CVs and trashes those without any content of interest. In summary, some examples of the words that are recommended to be used are terms specific to a certain profession, names of web programs, certifications, degrees, and names of educational institutions.
- It is necessary to structure an optimized and customized CV as the ATS discards those that are not at least 50% compatible with the job description. In concrete terms, talking about experience as a mechanical welder to prove that you have done several jobs could prove counterproductive if the application is for a position in marketing.
- The CV must describe ourselves, but in the function of the job or company, we are applying for. Therefore, an analysis of the job advertisements of one’s interest is necessary in order to find the relevant keywords and to be able to write a CV that responds to the ATS.
Before moving on to the section on how to make an oral presentation of yourself, I offer you a guide on strategies for finding work in the digital world, which is very useful in the area of resumes and applications.
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Presenting oneself orally
Making a presentation of oneself at an interview or conference adds a not inconsiderable obstacle: the presence of one’s interlocutor or audience, who make comments and react to what is said, especially with non-verbal language.
The objectives are those already set out at length, but a few tricks can be identified in order to set oneself up in the best possible way. The first general advice is: to appear relaxed, trying not to be influenced by the context. The main objective is to work on building a relationship with the audience, or the recruiter, who are not always committed to putting you at ease.
In order to succeed in making contact, you need to be simple, sometimes funny, and stimulate the listener’s curiosity by providing information that makes the person in front of you want to know more and go deeper. In this way, you will be able to take control of the conversation without your speech appearing like a monologue learned by heart: a communicative exchange is essential. For these reasons, making a presentation of yourself using a tone and language tailored to your interlocutors and the context can ensure greater effectiveness.
Of course, it is important to emphasize one’s essential traits and strengths, but as already mentioned, one must be careful not to display an endless list of achievements. In fact, the way one tells oneself brings out who one is, and appearing conceited is certainly not the best way to start. In this sense, an interesting strategy to appear more authentic and mature can be to tell one’s story by talking about both failures and successes, showing oneself aware of the path one has taken or any of one’s growth.
Presenting oneself at an interview
Going more specific, how do you present yourself at an interview? The beginning is standard: you are asked to talk about yourself and, as mentioned, you should try to impress the recruiter in a short time, highlighting your strengths and arousing his interest. For this step prepare a short speech about who you are, what you have studied, your main work experience, and the reasons why you are looking for that job.
It is important not to fall into the trap of setting out the entire content of the CV, but to talk about oneself, one’s expectations of the job, and how one lives this sphere of life. A strong point is to reflect on the goals one intends to achieve and one’s ambitions.
To make an effective presentation you must not hesitate, even in the face of difficult questions, but reveal yourself as confident and ready to handle stress. Confidence that you must also learn to show in your gestures and non-verbal behavior, looking the person you are speaking to in the eyes, and exchanging a firm handshake, without gesturing nervously. Finally, convey and argue your motivation, as this is the factor on which recruiters’ impression of you will be based.
How to make a video presentation
In the business world, video presentation is increasingly in demand. So, what to say in a video presentation of oneself?
- Who you are.
- Professional experience in the last year.
- One’s mission, one’s goal.
- One’s skills are the added value.
- Thank you for watching the video.
We recommend making videos with Adobe Premiere, which is easy to use and offers a free trial period. From a technical point of view, however, all you need to shoot a video is a green cloth as a background (which disappears with the crop effect), two lamps, a microphone, and your PC camera.
Personal Branding, Social Media, and LinkedIn
Finally, how to make a presentation of oneself without exploiting personal branding? Marketing oneself is crucial. Indeed, it is not enough to know how to write a good cover letter or how to present oneself effectively in front of an audience, it is also important to invest in promoting oneself online.
Recruiters, clients, and possible colleagues will always look for information online about who is presenting or applying. This is why it becomes vitally important to take care of one’s social profile.
Improve your social presence: get free access to the guide that will reveal the secrets of how to best present yourself on social media
As mentioned above, social media have become very important tools in the presentation of oneself, a kind of digital and public business card. Each of these tools has its own advantages: on Instagram one can enhance one’s own image, on Twitter one can share, follow and deepen one’s interests and create interest lists, on Facebook one can give space to one’s own content, enhancing one’s strengths. In short, having professionally edited social profiles can bring considerable benefits to the impression others make of our image.
However, the best social media dedicated to the professional presentation of oneself is LinkedIn, the virtual space par excellence where one can compile one’s digital CV, make oneself known, interact with other professionals, and look for or offer work. When entering the world of work, in fact, opening a LinkedIn profile is a must.
In conclusion, a complete presentation of one’s professional profile is not limited to a letter, a video, or an oral presentation, but requires skills, expertise, and a complete job of looking after one’s image.
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