So you have settled into the interview and your carefully crafted PowerPoint presentation is ready to go. The audience is waiting to hear what you have to say. Your heart rate is up and you are wide awake and full of anticipation. The committee members are sipping coffee and trying to sort through all the data; they are exhausted from cramming in the re-review of five proposals.  You are interview number three, it’s 1:30 p.m., they just had lunch and are ready for a siesta….and then, off go the lights.

People often say using PowerPoint in the interview process are always a bad idea, but is it really the PowerPoint that’s the problem? I can tell you, as someone sitting across from presenters, it’s not the PowerPoint, it’s the mood. I personally have been in an interview where the team closed every blind, stood in the corner of the room, and turned off every light. It felt like we were watching an IMAX with a narrator. The problem wasn’t the PowerPoint but the lack of connection between the audience and presenters.

The challenge with projected presentations can sometimes be with the room itself–you may not be able to set up the projector in the spot you want and you may not be able to control the daylight or lighting system to your liking. Here are a couple suggestions:

  1.  Try to keep as many lights on as possible.
  2.  Control the natural light if electric light controls are not an option.
  3.  Set the level so we can see the team member’s faces clearly; it’s more important than the slide of your latest achievement.
  4.  If the room has limitations forcing you to go dark, then keep it to a minimum of time.
  5.  Don’t make apologies or joke about how you planned to put your audience to sleep, or blame the poor equipment, or how you will improve it when you are the selected design team. Not only will it be dark, but you will hear crickets.

As a backup plan you can always bring extra coffee, or do a chair race, something!

~ Paul Wember,  Owner’s Representative